….how, why and when our economy will come back #2

Last week I tried to explain the dilemma we are all in in the economy, especially about people hiring. It’s all over the news. In fact the headline in today’s paper was “One in Six People are Out of Work.” I don’t know how true that is or isn’t, but I guarantee you if you read that, and you are looking for a job you are totally depressed. If you’re a manager in a company, you’re thinking “All of those companies that are laying off, something must be going on. I sure as heck shouldn’t expand. In fact, I lost one of my customers the other day. Maybe things are really bad!”

The government hasn’t done us any favors by basically “shutting the country down.” It has encouraged doubt, uncertainty and fear. Think about it objectively. You have been basically told to stay in your house, you can’t go to church (but the abortion centers are open as well as the liquor stores as well as the marijuana dispensaries if your state allows that.) So, the government won’t let you pray together but they’ll let you kill babies and get stoned. Think about how the government is trying to control your life. Now most of us think it’s for the better. But if you objectively think about it, you should probably think again. But I digress.

Until our social norms become more normal or even more reliable, most employers are going to be afraid of hiring. This could go on for weeks or months. The doubt, uncertainty and fear of the social norms carry over into business. Let’s face it, it’s easier to be fearful than it is to be courageous and bold.

Lots of hiring authorities cut back on people because they were afraid. Many of them overdid it and are going to find out really quickly that they really need to hire some of those people back or hire others. I talked to four people this week who were “furloughed” by their company and wouldn’t even consider going back if they had an alternative. That’s why they called me. “Tony, if you can find me a better job or even as good of one, I don’t have any problem leaving these guys at all.”

Now, most employers are going to be afraid for some time to hire. They’re going to say, “Well, we’re waiting to see what happens.” They’re scared. Their customers are telling them that they’re scared too and they are not hiring. As you can see, this kind of attitude snowballs.

If you are a candidate looking for a job, you’ve got to approach a perspective hiring authority with the idea of, “Look, I know you may not desperately need to hire somebody right now, but soon you will and I need to be the guy or gal you talk to. I can give you plenty of good reasons of why you want to hire me whenever you are ready. I know you don’t have an opening now but you will.” Now, I know this takes real guts and you’re only going to get one out of every 10 people to agree to simply interview you. Remember you’re not trying to sell them on hiring you today…although that might happen. Remember, you are selling a date, not marriage.

I might have mentioned it a couple weeks ago, but one of my candidates agreed to go to work for my client on a straight commission basis for the first month just so they could see how hard she worked. She made them a deal that was really hard to pass up. And, in order to get hired now, candidates may have to make “the deal you can’t refuse.”

I had one of my clients tell me this week that he knew recession was going to come along. Really? Of course, somewhere down the line a recession’s going to come along and now were here. Okay! I’m here to tell you that there’s going to be an expansion of business…somewhere down the line. And that will be followed by another recession somewhere down the line. It’s all stupid.

Here is the point. If you’re a candidate looking for a job, you have to talk to lots and lots and lots and lots of prospective employers. You got to give them really good reasons why they ought to hire you. Maybe they’ll hire you today, maybe they will try to hire you six months from now and maybe they never will. But sitting around acting scared isn’t going to get you a job. If you make a good enough impression on a prospective employer, even when they’re not looking to hire somebody, they may very well remember you when they are ready to hire. I had a candidate a number of years ago who went to work for a company I referred him to…. seven years later.

If you’re a hiring authority, interview good candidates; you never know when you’re going to need them. In fact, you should always be interviewing good candidates, whether you need them or not.

We have to all quit acting afraid. Okay, times are difficult and times are challenging, but the sooner we wake up as individuals and go try to do something about our situation the sooner we will dig out of the malaise we’re in.

….how, why and when our economy will come back


Before we get started, let me say that experience has given me the answers to some of this. This is my seventh recession and every one of them has been a little bit different, but then again, every one of them has been a little bit alike. So here is what to expect:

Businesses in the United States, 98% of whom employ less than 100 people, will be scared to death for the next month or two…even maybe a little longer. The fact that we are “locked down” does not help the psyche. Hopefully, we in Texas are a lot smarter about this than other states. The more draconian the government is about telling us what we can and can’t do, the more afraid we are of what’s going to happen. When people who run businesses are “afraid” they slow down, freeze any growth they might have imagined and even start laying people off, not because they have any “proof” that things are going to get worse, but just because they are afraid.

Two weeks ago, one of our clients simply laid off four out of seven people in a particular department because they were afraid of what was going to be happening. They had no real proof that their business was going to the crapper. They just laid off four people, just like that. We’ve already found one of them a job and two of them are in the process of interviewing and getting hired at, frankly, our client’s competitor. It was simply a knee-jerk reaction of doubt and uncertainty and fear.

Now multiply this by the millions of other businesses in the United States and what do you get? Doubt, uncertainty and fear along with 22 million people out of work. Now there are 16 million people in the hospitality business in the United States in one form or fashion. Some of these people still have their job, but the majority of them have filed for unemployment. They got laid off because their employer got shut down by the government,out of doubt, uncertainty and fear.

No one can blame those small businesses… especially the hospitality ones, bars and restaurants from laying these people off. They simply don’t have the money to pay them. We can blame China all we want…and we should… but it isn’t going to help any of these people find a new job.

So, I probably talked to 100 different business managers and owners last week and most all of them told me that they were putting their hiring on “hold.” And they had no idea when the hold was going to be lifted. They just simply didn’t know. And, more than just a few of these managers told me that they were so afraid that they were going to update their resume and send it to me. Fear begets fear.

Now, this is a part of a recession that nobody knows when it will end. The last five recessions have lasted on average 15 months. I’m not dead sure how a recession is defined and how this figure is determined. But I do know that the fear, doubt and uncertainty lasts a whole lot longer than it probably should. So, if you got laid off or you are looking for a job expect the doubt, uncertainty and fear phase of “we’re on a hiring freeze” to last for a while. Just be ready for it.

Now this doesn’t mean that you don’t, if you’re looking for a job, stop looking. There are jobs out there. They are just harder to find and the hiring authorities are more fearful of making a mistake than they were four or five months ago.  Don’t let it go to your head, as one candidate told me last week, “well I’m really good, and there’s always room for good people like me.” It doesn’t matter how good you are or how good you think you are, the opening has to be there. And the crazy attitude of, “there’s always room for a top performer” is nuts when companies and the people in them are operating out of fear.

During this “fear” phase of the recession, if you are looking for a job, you’re going to have to be really, really, really good at giving people great reasons of why they are the hiring you. Just remember that, no matter how good you are, this is going to be hard.

If you’re looking for a job you need to develop a systematic approach of trying to find one. My online program – www.jobsearchsolution.com-  is almost a 60 hour program (we just rewrote it) which will give you every aspect of looking for a job that you ever imagined. It helps you make looking for a job a job in itself.

One of the candidates who I placed about two years ago called me on Friday and said that his company decreased his pay and his commission plan, so he wanted to leave where he was. I explained to him that in a normal market that might be a good idea, but in this market that’s a really bad idea. And he says, “But it’s different with me. I’m better than most anybody out there.” There is no need to comment about what he said. He has absolutely no idea how difficult it’s going to be for him to find a new job. Thankfully, he’s got one and I told him to stay right where he is for a while…

More to come next week….

…..crazy new world of hiring

Welcome to the crazy new world of hiring! And it’s probably going to get a little crazier as we come out of this mess. It is evident that every one of our candidates as well as employers, are operating under doubt, uncertainty, and fear. We discussed that before. Here are some things that happened this week that help to demonstrate how just a little bit crazy and unpredictable things can be.

We’re hunkered down in this quarantine, like everyone else, but since most of our work is done over the phone we can do that from our home offices. I expected hordes of people to call us saying that they got laid off or fired or are so anxious about their company’s ability to survive, they absolutely have to look for a new job. Now, maybe the total impact of this horrible economic downturn hasn’t hit quite yet. But, we did get quite a number of the kinds of calls we expected, but not the same number as in the beginning of the 2008 recession.

We had a number of candidates call us and tell us that they were “furloughed.” I hadn’t heard that kind of term ever used by private industry. In two or three cases, the people who called said they were still “associated” with their company and the company was paying their benefits but they were basically unemployed without earnings. They were looking for a job because they needed a paycheck. They were told that, “as soon as things turn around, we will bring you back on and start paying you.” In each of these cases no timeline was given. Each one of these candidates has called us to actively start looking for a new job. If they find one as good as or better than what they had between now and the time they are called back, they will probably accept a new position.

Probably 60% of our clients who are actively interviewing and trying to hire someone put their search “on hold” until, “we figure out what we’re going to do.” People just don’t know how this new economy is going to affect their company. So, the doubt, uncertainty and fear has put them in a position to do nothing at all. The majority of our active searches have been put on hold and nobody seems to know when they will come off of the hold.

Some firms are hiring in just the same way they were before this whole pandemic hit. Quite a number of them are postponing start dates. We have heard the start date of June 1 quite often in the last week, whereas it would normally be May 1st. We had one client who hired a salesperson with a tentative start date of May 15, but offered the candidate the opportunity to work for them on a straight commission basis until May 15. The candidate agreed to do it. But my sense is that if another opportunity comes along between now and then, he will go after it. His concern is that, “Well, who is to say that when we get close to the start date, one month from now, they may postpone the start date again. I’m out of work and I need a job, so I’m going to take them up on their offer but I will probably keep looking.” It’s hard to blame him.

More than two or three startups laid off more than half of their staff that they’ve been hiring over the last few months. Their excuse for doing so was quite simple, “We just don’t know how the economy is going to go.”

We had one organization who for the past three weeks has been interviewing regional sales director candidates. They have been interviewing people via videoconferencing and have been moving the process along pretty well. But yesterday they raised the concern that their company “policy” was for the Executive VP, who lives in New York, to interview the finalists face-to-face. Our candidate has absolutely no desire whatsoever to fly to New York City. He offered to meet the EVP, if he has to, at an airport equidistant between here and New York. Why our candidate can’t interview with the EVP in the same manner that he has interviewed with the hiring authority and his boss, via videoconference, is beyond us. Companies are already changing their policies about lots of things based on this coronavirus and this policy should obviously be one of them.

Relating to videoconferencing, we have had a number of client companies actually hire candidates via videoconferencing. Onboarding the candidates has been the biggest problem. Even though they will have them work from home until the lockdown is over, they are having trouble getting computers to them and expecting them to function in a job they can’t learn much about by not being “on site.”

More than 15 million Americans work in the hospitality related services arena. The vast majority of these people are the ones that have been laid off as a result of the coronavirus. Doubt, uncertainty and fear are contagious. We have a client who has been interviewing CFO candidates to replace one that is retiring. They are ready to bring the candidate on, but they told us they didn’t want to give him a start date because they wanted to be sure that their clients are going to pay them even when the scare ends. They have no reason to believe that they are not going to be paid except for the general “fearful” business climate and they know their present CFO is going to retire soon. Their plan to hire our candidate and have him mentored by the present CFO is still a good one. But they just can’t seem to set the start date and they’re blaming the coronavirus. Again, doubt, uncertainty and fear.

All this is to say that nobody knows how the economics of this thing is going to play out. The proponents who say that we really need to get on with business as quickly as possible to dig out of this hole are absolutely right. No one wants to see people get sick and die, but our economy, which is already sick, is going to “die” if we don’t get back to work and do it quickly.


….the telephone interview

I can already tell that you are ecstatic and excited and emotionally charged to read this article. You can’t believe that someone is writing about something that’s been on your mind incessantly and then all of a sudden this miracle appears. Right?

Most people are absolutely totally bored with this subject. That’s because they think they know what they’re doing when it comes to a telephone interview. No big deal. So, why am I writing about this?  One, because in this coronavirus situation, 90% of at least initial interviews, are over the phone. And two, people screw them up at least 60% of the time. So that’s why I’m writing about the telephone interview.

More people probably screw up this part of the interviewing process more than any other since we’re used to talking, texting and communicating very casually on our cell phones. We take these conversations for granted, as well as the communication surrounding the phone. That’s a problem. It’s really easy to carry over these kinds of habits to interviewing. Now here are some quick rules. First of all, your telephone message on your cell phone needs to be professional. It needs to state your name and your phone number. Lots of people simply use the automated message on their cell phone and they neglect to remember that two or three years from now, somebody is going to pull your resume out of their file. They’re going to look at it, they’re going to be interested in you, and they’re going to call that number and they’re not going to be sure that it’s you.

So you’ve gotta be sure that you leave a professional message on your telephone so they know the number and who they are talking to. Now, let me share with you why companies do telephone interviews (besides these days of the coronavirus). They do it to eliminate you. They are trying to cut down the number of people they have to interview face-to-face, so they’re going to try to do it on the telephone. You think they’re trying to qualify you. They think they’re trying to disqualify you by talking to 25 people so they can boil it down to two or three. Remember in the telephone interview that you are trying to get a face-to-face interview. That’s what you’re selling. You are not trying to sell “hire me over the phone”. You’re trying to sell the idea of “let me come visit you and we can talk about that”. Conduct a telephone interview from a quiet place where you can focus and where you can get good reception.

For goodness sake, do not do it from your car, a restaurant or a loud place while you’re babysitting. When the dog barks at the postman delivering mail and so forth, it’ll totally screw it up. Poor cell phone reception is going to kill any interview. You need to treat a telephone interview with the same respect that you would treat a face-to-face interview. Try to use a landline if at all possible. Now the majority of people out there don’t have landlines anymore. I get it. But if you can find a landline to do the telephone interview, you are going to be a lot better off because the technology, unfortunately with cell phones, is still imperfect and there are lots of places where a cell phone reception is poor. A job candidate has enough problems to worry about without creating this one. If you have a landline available, even if you have to borrow one, do it that way.

Be sure that your cell phone is charged. You don’t want to drop a call in the middle of an interview, set a specific time for the telephone interview and preferably you initiate it. It gives you a little bit of an advantage. Don’t get caught off guard with an out of the blue call in starting an interview. If you answered the phone, do it professionally, enthusiastically with energy. This is Tony Beshara. Don’t give it a ‘hello’ or ‘what’s up’..  you don’t know who’s on the other end of that line. Especially when you’re looking for a job, answer the phone with your name and do it clearly. Find out beforehand who exactly is doing the telephone interview. Find out their role. If it’s a call from the human resources department or a vice president, it will make a very big difference and you need to find out as much as you can exactly what the purpose of the call is. Is it to set up another call? Is it to qualify you for a face-to-face interview? Is it an interview on the second or third level of managers and so on? You don’t want to get caught off guard expecting one kind of interview and get another. You might want to email someone and be clear about who you were going to speak with, what their role is and what the reason for the call is. If you don’t have the opportunity to know exactly who you’re speaking with, don’t make an assumption about the person’s gender based on their voice. Uh, Chris can either be a male or a female and sometimes a female Chris may often sound like a male Chris. So if it’s at all possible to tell a person’s name, what their gender might be, and if you likewise can’t tell by their voice, be mindful of that.

(more next week)


… doubt, uncertainty and fear



They all came to roost this week regarding the employment situation and the coronavirus. We have been inundated with professional candidates who have summarily lost their jobs because their companies want to be sure they’re going to survive.

We have been extremely blessed, because this quarter has been one of the best quarters, if not the best in our firm has experienced in three or four years. Remember, though the candidates we placed this month started their process of interviewing, on average, a month or before they got hired.

if we’re in a recession, and I’m not sure yet, it will be the seventh one that I have seen in my experience. I got into this profession in 1973 in the middle of a recession and just didn’t know any better. (I remember billing a $1440 fee and it was the largest the the company had billed in a year.) I came out of higher education and just plain didn’t know any better. I didn’t know that it was a dumb time to get into the, what was then called, “the employment agency business.”

Our profession is always on the tail end of whatever the economy is experiencing. The people we placed this month started interviewing in the latter part of January and the beginning part of February before all of this mess started. Just recalling the last four resessions, 1986, when real estate, banking and oil and gas all went on there butt at the same time in Dallas Texas, the dot bomb, 9/11 and 2008, I realize that kind of hiring we’ve seen up until recently won’t pick up again until companies out there have more confidence in themselves. Expansion and hiring are not things that companies do unless they feel the economy is stable and growing. Let’s face it, we’ve had 10 years of pretty excellent growth in the economy and we all knew that it was bound to get “corrected” somewhere along the line. That’s free enterprise. We just didn’t think something like a virus would cause it. Life is uncertain!

So, this is all nice theory to talk about, but even understanding it doesn’t help the 68-year-old engineer who got laid off today and called us, not having any idea what to do. I don’t know if understanding this helps the administrative assistant that we placed four weeks ago who got laid off yesterday. I know it’s really easy, but rather glib to simply say “well, just hang in there things will get better.” We all know that things are going to get better…we just don’t know when. And that’s the problem.

None of us have any idea if this government stimulus is going to help us or not, especially in the long haul. Ain’t nothing free and somebody’s got to pay for it down the line. But maybe just the idea that the government is trying to do something to help people out will really help them.

Most everyone of the employers that I spoke with this week are in shock, don’t know what to do and are suffering doubt, uncertainty, and fear. That’s the way it’s always happened. The people who were actively looking for a job full-time, are even more afraid than they were before. The people who have been summarily dismissed are in shock and there will be more for sure.

So, if you’re hiring authority and now have to hold off hiring, try this:

Pray, even if you’re not accustomed to doing it…start

Take massive action to do the things you know to do. Please don’t sit around wondering,              “what if this happens… what if that happens”…etc. it will do you no good to do that

Think about Plan A, Plan B and Plan C… Write them out as best you can

Circle all of your employees and tell them exactly where the company stands, especially                economically. How long can the company go if worse comes to worse. Even if it’s ugly, tell            people that it’s ugly. It’s amazing what people will do if they know the truth.

Only lay off people if you absolutely have to and please do it with grace and style. (I had an          excellent candidate call me on Friday to say that she got laid off by an email. I assure you              either now or later she will go to work for a competitor and she is so mad she will do                    whatever she can to get back at her most recent employer when she can.)

If your job is in jeopardy, be honest about it with others as well as yourself.

Do whatever you need to do, but do gracefully without negative emotions.

Realize that the law of karma states that how you deal with the most difficult times will bless       you or curse you in the future.

Keep praying! (The words of Jim Rohn keep playing in my head: “don’t pray for things to               become easier. Pray that you become better.”)

Be nice to people… even when you don’t feel nice. (I got a call from a vice president of the           company that I try to do business with a few years ago. He got fired last week and he needs a     Job. He may or may not remember it, but I called him a few years ago to see if he could use a       good salesperson. He was terribly rude and laughed in a really smug, condescending manner,     said: “you’re a recruiter? I can’t imagine anybody ever needing a recruiter. I know how to hire     through my network and I’ve always gotten jobs from my network. Don’t ever call me again!”       And he hung up on me. He may not remember it, but I do. He called because he needs a job       and was wondering if I would help him. Of course I will, but it’s hard not to remember how           rude he was.He’s been out of work for six months.)

Be grateful!


If you are a candidate that is beginning to look for a job because you just got downsized:

Pray, even if you don’t believe in it… start now

Don’t bemoan the fact that you got laid off and call 10 other people to complain about it.

Make sure you’re going to be able to get a good reference from the people you have most           recently been working for.

Take MASSIVE ACTION… Put a plan together to start looking for a job and really go after it.

Many employers are going to think that they will be able to pick up some great talent that            wasn’t available a month ago.

Make finding a job a job in itself.

Be Grateful

Have faith that this too will pass and we will all be better for it.

One bit of good news… An assistant controller we placed with the company about seven months ago got laid off from that company two or three months ago. The controller called her last week and said that laying her off was one of the biggest mistakes he had ever made and he hired her back! Good things do happen! She’s ecstatic!



…. the new sheriff in town

So, our client tells us that they have to hire six customer service reps and have them trained by March 15. They told us this two weeks ago. One small glitch was that the new customer service manager had not been hired just yet, but management wanted to get a jump on having a number of people available for him or her once they found the manager. On paper, not a bad idea.

So, the VP tells us to line up as many good candidates as we can so that he can interview them even before the new customer service manager has been hired. He did tell us that once the customer service manager was hired, he or she would have to talk to the people and get the blessing of the new manager. Fair enough!

So, over a period of two days the VP interviews nine people. He tells six of them, on the spot, that they are exactly what the company is looking for. These candidates walk out of the interview thinking that not only did they do very well, that there was a real high probability that they were going to be hired. Having been down this road a few times before we gracefully explained to each candidate that, “It ain’t over till their butt’s in the chair.” We explained that we still had to get them to speak to the new customer service manager whenever he or she was hired.

The new customer service manager was hired within two or three days of the VP interviewing. Not bad! The VP let us know that the new customer service manager would interview all of these candidates via Skype this last week because she had not started her new job yet and of course, for dealing with the coronavirus scare. Again, fair enough!

The new manager was told by the VP about six of the people he really liked and told the new manager to interview them. The new manager interviewed all of the candidates. The new manager was very nice to all of them, very respectful, made it clear what she was looking for in people and did a good job of, at least acknowledging that she was new to the company also and there would be a learning curve for everybody.

These six people were really good. As far as customer support/service people they were actually excellent. It would be very hard to find candidates that were better. The new customer service manager encouraged all of the candidates, but in the final analysis, only hired two of the six people. Four of these people were pretty devastated.

The client has told us that they still need to hire others. Nobody is going to start on 15 March; obviously that has come and gone. In fact no one is sure of the start dates, even though the vice president was pretty adamant about these people being really good. The new customer service manager obviously wanted to put her “mark” on the fact that she was THE MANAGER and was going to make her own decisions about who was going to get hired.

Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s certainly the prerogative of a manager, even a new manager, to do what they think is best. That’s what they get hired to do. But the point is that we pretty much know the market for the kind of people that these folks are hiring and they really aren’t going to hire people any better than the ones they’ve already seen. We’re certainly going to try to help them, but we know that the candidates we come up with aren’t going to be any better than the ones this new customer service manager turned down.

The moral to the story is that whenever a new manager comes into interview with the “finalists” no candidate should ever make any assumptions based on what the previous interviewing authority said. Even if the VP loved all of these people and told them that he thought they were pretty perfect, that new manager is going to try to make his or her authority known by hiring who they like and being relatively sure that they say “no” to at least a few people because, of course, they are a m-a-n-a-g-e-r.

We’re pretty confident that the new candidates we will come up with will be no better than the ones this new manager turned down. Again, a new manager certainly has their right to do that. So, if you are a job candidate just remember that because everyone might just love you, doesn’t mean the new manager will, even though you’re told by a group of other people that you’re “perfect.”

The new sheriff in town can change a lot of things.


….. bad breaks with spring break

I’m beginning to hate spring break. And, if I’m correct, this last week was only one that some people took and next week there will be another.

Over the past, maybe 20 years “spring break” has been a part of our society. When I was growing up “spring break” was one day, Good Friday, and instead of going to school, you went to work at any job you could find. If you are out of work and looking for a job I can’t imagine how anybody could even dream of taking a week off, even with your wonderful kids, and miss the opportunity to interview. I know I sound cynical, but twice this week two candidates of mine “went on spring break” and lost job opportunities to two candidates who were here to interview second and third rounds. Each one of these positions paid more than a base salary of $120,000. One of them had the attitude that the company should wait for him to come back from his skiing with his family. The problem was, our client didn’t see it that way. His specific attitude was, “What’s he going away to spring break for, when I think I might want to hire him?” So, he hired another candidate.

Hiring authorities aren’t much better. Two of them, in two different companies went on spring break this week. They told our candidates that they will be back next week and hire them. As of today both candidates took other jobs. Both of these employers are going to be really disappointed come Monday.

So, I’m sure nobody’s going to cancel spring break because of what I have to say. But, if you’re looking for a job, either presently employed or not, I think interviewing is more important than taking a spring break. If you’re an employer and want to run the risk of losing candidates you have in the queue, I guess that’s your prerogative. But this market’s a lot different than it used to be. Good jobs are still hard to find and so are good candidates.

…..lesson from Luka

 This kid is a blast to watch. It’s not only that he is so good…. Probably about as good as anybody has ever been. Only the future will reveal that.

But what makes this kid such a phenomenal player is that he is just out there having fun. He’s laughing all the time, even when he misses. It doesn’t matter that you can argue that he’s better than LeBron was at his age or Kobe. What matters is he’s having fun. He takes what he does seriously, but he doesn’t take himself too seriously. He’s intense, but relaxed.

Now, I know one could say, “Well if I was that good, I could be that relaxed.” One thing about basketball is that all of those players are so darn good, playing against each other, we have a tendency to take for granted how good they really are. But when you see someone that good having that much fun competing you have to just admire it.

A couple weeks ago I wrote about the work ethic of Kobe. Luka obviously has a phenomenal amount of talent, and you got to know that he works his rear end off. But he is still having fun. He laughs and even pokes fun at himself. Now, I realize it’s a whole lot more fun when you win and a person probably laughs more when they’re winning. But even when this kid is losing or misses a free throw, he laughs about it.

So often we get so wrapped up in what we do and take ourselves so seriously. We forget to have fun. We forgot to laugh.


…counteroffer mania

Well, I’ve been doing this since 1973 and I’ve seen markets for labor go up and down so many times I probably can’t count them. But when this market is like it is today, and you’re a hiring authority, you better be ready for candidates to accept counteroffers to the job offers that you make them.

Twice this week we had two very senior positions offered to candidates who accepted counteroffers from their present employers. Both of the hiring authorities that we worked with took way too long in the interviewing process. One of them took three weeks and another one took almost 2 months. Each one of them insisted on pursuing only one candidate at a time and, both of them, when they got to a candidate they really liked, wouldn’t interview other candidates as backup.

We try to explain that in this market, a hiring authority should be constantly interviewing even though they think they found the “right person.” But they were phenomenally busy…. Just couldn’t take the time to interview other people… were confident that the candidates they had were going to work for them. Both candidates told both employers multiple times that if they had the chance to take the job they would. Both employers put off making offers for all kinds of ridiculous reasons. Their biggest mistake was that they didn’t continue to interview our other candidates, even though we warned them they needed to have backup. One of them even told us, “look, I just don’t have the time to interview other candidates besides we’re going to hire Jerry. Quit suggesting that I talk to other candidates.”

Well, sure enough, both employers are now back to square one having to interview other candidates. Both of the candidates who were offered jobs took counter offers from their present employers. We had warned both candidates about the disaster of doing that before they got their counteroffers but, of course, they did what they thought was best for them.

It didn’t do any good to rub it in for both of our clients. Saying, “I told you so” or “you should’ve listened to me,” just doesn’t do any good we will start all scratch. We will start all over with them and hope they don’t get “interviewing fatigue” and put the whole thing off longer. Starting all over is really hard to do.

The lesson here is to keep interviewing even if you think you found, “the one.” If the candidates you are interviewing are presently employed be sure to ask them what they will do if they get a counteroffer. (We have scripts available for our clients to use in asking about counteroffers with a candidate.)

Most importantly there are two things. First of all, expect that candidates, who are employed, are going to be offered counteroffers by their present employer. Make sure, if you’re hiring authority, that you get a real good feel for what a candidate is likely to do when that happens. The second thing to do is to move your process along quickly. Time kills deals. The longer a hiring authority drags the interviewing and hiring process out, the more likely the candidate is to not only get distracted by other things and other opportunities but questions the decision-making ability of the person doing the hiring.

I’m not suggesting you hire a candidate during the first interview. I am suggesting that you move the process along quickly. And prepare yourself for the candidate being offered a counter offer. It might be even a good idea to explain to them why that’s not a good idea (we have scripts for that to).

…….. if you are the job seeker, no matter how passive or aggressive please stop:

…. Keeping your voicemail full, so when I call you I can’t leave a message

….. Texting me as though you think I’m on my cell phone all day… I’m not…Most of us that are true recruiters… on the phone all day… aren’t paying attention to their cell phones. They don’t have time

…… Having a third of  your resume taken up with your picture… Your “summary”… your “objective”… stupid bullet points like “great communication skills, both verbal and written”… anything on your resume that doesn’t tell me in a quick SCAN…(NOT read) who you work for, what they do, what you did and how well you did it… I’m going to spend 10 seconds on scanning your resume and it needs to tell me “why would my client be interested in interviewing this candidate?” remember, YOUR RESUME IS SCANNED, NOT READ

…. Having no picture on your LinkedIn profile

… Having your picture on your LinkedIn profile looking like you are trying to get a date

… Having a picture on your profile to communicate anything except “I’m a professional”

… Having circles, boxes, quadrangles, octagons, charts and graphs, maps, instructions on how to put together your kids latest toy…on your resume

… Having your phone number “hidden” somewhere at the bottom of your resume in such small print that I can’t read it

… Trying to communicate with me exclusively through LinkedIn, so that I have to “view message” every time I go to communicate with you. I will stop doing it after I tell you to email me

…. Only being available at certain narrow times during the day

…. Telling me that you can’t come interview with me in my office because you can’t afford to take the time off, but that you’d be willing to take time to go interview with an employer. (I’m not anymore wild about interviewing you face-to-face anymore than you are about interviewing me face-to-face, but I really have to do it if I’m going to represent you well.)

… Not stating your name on your voicemail for your cell phone…. you’ll feel really stupid if three years from now I have an excellent opportunity for you, call your cell phone and, not being sure it’s you, hang up…tell people who call you who you are in your message

….. Having a ridiculously stupid email address that is anything but professional… i’mastud@gmail.com will not get a positive response

… Using an @aol account… you will appear to be old

….  Anything political anywhere… or any political discussion… (Years ago I was on the Dr. Phil Show a number of times with Elizabeth Warren… She was a kook then and she’s still a kook… I’m embarrassed that she is an Okie like I am, but I don’t discuss it… At least I was born in Muskogee and, yes I’m an “Okie from Muskogee.”)…. Yes, I can get away with this because I’m not looking for a job

… Telling me that you really need a job and then not returning my phone call

…. Not telling me that you found a job while I’m trying to get you interviews… No problem, but please just tell me

…Going totally silent when I tell you I have an interview for you…and then when you need me 3 years from now, calling me and acting like w’ere old lost cousins… best of friends, etc.

…Being extremely rude to me when you are an employer and then, of course, drastically changing that tune when you need a job. (Of course, I’m never going to say anything about it, but I do remember it.)