Archive | October, 2007

I Would Rather Work In A Bad Area Than Live In One

29 Oct

It’s Monday and my first call of the day just required me to deviate from my plan and share some thoughts.  I love this hiring manager I just talked with – she is quick witted and honest – two good qualities to possess.

Every time we talk about what she needs some help on – she gives me an update and this one opportunity she has me working on – always comes with the disclaimer – "but you know Andy, that one is not in a good area."

Now this is a good company, good compensation, good benefits, good work environment inside – apparently outside this location is not so great.  Can we change that?  Can we do anything about it?  So why share that – the question is will someone take the job?  Easy answers on all these questions.

Apparently, my hiring contact with this company is not a fan of this particular location.  Cool.  I think this a reminder to the hiring authority that what you say matters and that we need to be careful in the recruiting game that we are not placing our value systems on others.

For instance, I don’t want to drive an hour to work but people do it.  I don’t want to work insane hours during busy season but people do it.  I don’t want to clean port-a-pots but people do it.  I don’t want to work in a bad area either but people do it everyday.

Hiring Managers – do not put your value system on others – what you say matters – and in this Halloween Week we do not want to scare people with our thoughts.  Let’s allow the candidate to decide that one.  I would rather live in a good area and work in a bad area than the inverse.  Trick or Treat.

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Is It Just A Convenience Thing?

23 Oct

I really can’t make it – I have got something going on I forgot about – whatever the excuse, whatever the reason – you just cannot cancel an interview.  You cannot do it.

You cannot control how the employer interprets the cancellation and the inference they make about YOU.  However, I will be happy to offer a behind the scenes look at what they say to me.

Let’s start with my favorite topic – MAINTENANCE.  I hate maintenance, you hate maintenance, apparently the neighbors that keep their Christmas lights up all year agree as well.  Managers hate maintenance as well and if you cancel prior to joining the team chances are you will not be their newest employee.  With many employers, you cancel – you are out.  1 and done.

Let’s end with MAINTENANCE – your willingness to cancel is indicative of your level of interest in this job and a gauge on do you really want to leave – whether that is true or not – it is true.  Perception is reality applies here in every case.

As harsh as it is to say, I think death, something extremely critical involving health and/or accidents involving your immediate family are the only exceptions.  Sorry pet lovers – someone will need to take Rover to the Vet – you have an interview. 

Your employer knows one thing – along with all your skills and that stellar resume come your drama.  Canceling indicates potential drama.  Here is the word picture of drama – the person always needing to step away from their cubicle, mobile phone in hand ringing, about to go low talker as they manage their latest saga in what others call everyday life.

Is it just a convenience thing?  Do you really need to cancel?

The Word Is Unacceptable

10 Oct

When I lost my mind a few years ago and left the recruiting industry, albeit for 4 months, I found myself at one of the top companies (allegedly) in Indianapolis.  This company is always at the top of the list of like "The Best Places To Work" – you know these lists – sure.

I am always looking for common denominators that make companies good places to work and those that are not good places to be.  By the way, the company made a remarkably good product but the people left something to be desired.  They just were not my kind of people.  In some reflection lately, it became crystal clear to me one major reason why.

Before I go there, let me say in my career – I am now self-employed but – I have worked for some small companies, a mid-sized company and a Fortune 500 player and this company, which I would describe as another large company and a leader in their industry.  I have seen a wide variety of corporate cultures.

I am always asking my candidates to tell me why they would leave – why?, why? why?.  I want to know what makes it a bad environment?  Why are you bored?  All that stuff. 

But I left this company because in my opinion the job was not right for me – I should have never left the recruiting industry but I have to tell you the culture sucked and the culture sucked because of the word – unacceptable.

I think after awhile bold words that are so black and white can lose their sting.  No, I am not venting because my performance sucked and I personally was the target of that word.  I heard it everywhere – in all 5 business units I supported.  Unacceptable.  Seriously? – unacceptable.

I think the worst part is when words like that are tools of people you have no respect for at all.  I can still see some of these freaking idiots, one in particular, that had Executive VP on his business card, people could not stand him – Crazy sons of bitches in charge of millions of dollars and the only person that is empowered by their leadership is their super rude administrative assistant – you know the one that goes by her first name and no one even knows her last – it is as if she been given a new last name -"that bitch."  Does this sound familiar? 

Someone needs to go.  They need to be fired or you need to fire them by leaving.  I guess this is my wake-up call to those of you in a negative environment.  Look around you – are people that should be fired, being fired?  Do you respect your co-workers?  Do you respect the management team?

I laugh and think about some of those meetings now.  I witnessed people being berated – conference calls where people were called out, with absolutely no tact.  Managers that use words like this repeatedly lack creativity and certainly do not inspire and certainly are not leaders.

Don’t get me wrong – there is a time for unacceptable – perhaps in a private meeting with your boss when you really screw up.  However, I would offer if you hear that word alot – you probably need to be getting your resume together.  Unacceptable may be the step before unemployed.  Understand?

“Can You Send Me The Job Description? I’d Like To Take A Look At It And Mull It Over. Uhhhh – No.”

9 Oct

I had a great interview with a qualified candidate last night on the phone.  We discussed his career, why he has moved around, compensation, how his company is closing his location in the next 6 months or so, and what he is looking for in the next career chapter of his career.

I offer up to him that I may just have what he has been looking for all along.  I offer a verbal description of what the job would entail and also some credibility on this is an established client of mine.  Does he know this? – No.  I could be making it all up.  Maybe there isn’t a real opportunity.

Candidates, here is my advice.  If a recruiter calls you up peddling an opportunity – I think it is more than fair to ask for a job description.  If this is their process, they are weak.  They may just be fishing for candidates.  They may just be screening you.  The first item is are you being screened or are you being qualified.  Here is the difference – watch this –

Do they ask closed ended questions like – Do you have SAP experience?  or do they ask what systems have you utilized?  That is a brief example.  If the question is closed ended and you do not give them the correct answer – here is what you will hear – the air come out of the conversation and the interview will in effect be over in a matter of seconds.

I think for the recruiting process to work – you have to have a competent intermediary surveying the talent pool but also understanding the need of the hiring manager.  If a recruiter is willing to call you up and say – I have an opportunity, let me send you something, tell me if you are interested – they are only interested in making a "deal".  Don’t get me wrong, I love the deal – the deal is good.  However, I don’t have any interest in putting you in a job that is not the right gig for you.  The principled recruiter will have a genuine interest in you – you should be able to hear the difference.

The process of understanding why you would leave and what you are looking for is a thorough process filled with a lot of listening, qualifying and requalifying.  I am interested in helping good people find the right place – I cannot do that without talking with you, asking you some critical questions and then listening to your responses and sometimes challenging those answers in attempt to understand what the real issues are in your workLife.

So – Can I send you the job description?  Yes, I can.  Will I?  No, I will not.  However, I will really listen to your situation at 10PM on a Monday night and call you when I have the opportunity you described.   

Memo To The Cynical Hiring Manager

4 Oct

"Well, Andy – I realize they could probably do the job and the resume does look good but my only concern is.."  I love the phrase – "my only concern is" – I LOVE IT.  Has any phrase ever shouted more clearly – here comes some negativity? – got pessimism?  I know they have 19 things going for them but can we focus on why they suck for a minute?

I realize the candidate walks on water but there is always a chance he could freaking drowned after our orientation.  He could lose faith if I hire him.  I know he has had a success pattern but it could all end if we make him an offer.  His accomplishments look good but that could all come crashing down when he breaks the plane of this door.

My only concern is that you understand when you CAN say my only concern.  I think we take a pretty good order around here at CGP – understand what you really want in an ideal fit, understand the culture, understand the specs and then go recruit.

When we go recruit we are looking for the best people for the given opportunity.  You don’t see this activity but I can assure it is just that – an activity – that includes a lot of phone calls, alot of time, alot of interviewing.  That is our job.  You don’t see the candidates that don’t fit – you don’t have to talk with them.  They did not waste your time.

What you will see is the fruits of our labor.  You will see candidates that fit, that are qualified and most of all realistic to the market.  So… here comes the resume to your attention – qualified folks at the click of your mouse.  Now – you can get busy thinking how to fill in the blank after you utter my only concern is….Please don’t.  We have already eliminated those we had and knew you would have concerns about.

The solution is simple – trust us and let us do our job.  Tell us your CONCERNS in advance and you will not see these candidates.  If they get to you – we think you should see them – bring them in – interview them – they are at least worthy of a phone interview.  We have screened them – we have listened to them with discerning ears and selected only the ones that we think will not evoke your concern but will cause you to open up your planner tool of choice to see when you can see them.  We don’t send people we hope you will see – we send people you should.

This entry was not prompted by one lousy hiring manager – it was prompted by reflection of pessimistic hiring managers over the years and phrases that make me cringe in my role as recruiter.  Our job really is not that difficult but it does require will and desire when we are direct sourcing for your next employee.  Understand where we are coming from and know that the candidates you get from us are qualified and requalified – they come from hardwork not some big drawer overflowing with qualified resumes.

Are we going to miss something occasionally?  Sure.  Just let us know the answer to why this candidate does not fit – chances are it is someting we missed when taking the order or did not discuss with you.

Our only concern is you don’t realize the effort that goes in to a search.  Our only concern is you waste your time interviewing people that are scouring the ads.  Our only concern is you are interviewing people who just want a counteroffer.  Our only concern is that you are interviewing unrealistic candidates who are wasting your valuable time.

If you are prone to mix in a "My only concern is…" – wait until you have at least talked with them and VALIDATE your concerns.  Your only real concern should be can we attract and retain talented candidates and do people want to work for me and this organization.   

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