Tag Archives: Andy Gregory

Midnight In The Garden Of Importers And Exporters

5 Mar

(Reflections on the 2012 NPA Global Conference in Savannah, Georgia)

In one of America’s most historical and intriguing cities, a new spirit of NPA collaboration emerged – and it wasn’t the spirits encountered on the Haunted Pub Crawl.  Like many of you – I lost traction in 2009 but suddenly in Savannah, SplitZone was very real to me – again.

Maybe it was the “wheels coming off” period we survived together, maybe it was John Bartos’ optimism and forcing us to look at metrics, maybe it was the sponsors and their resources that help make placements – regardless, I trust this spirit is alive and well and will be moving across your desk this week and the weeks to come.

I left Georgia’s first city with clarity and wanting to do more business, more NPA business – how could you not?  This spirit was evident from seasoned veterans even – people with colors of precious metals on their nametags.  Folks I met in Columbus, Ohio, a few short years ago had gone from mildly abrasive to quite engaging, even welcoming.  I won’t name names and I won’t even change their names to Rhett or Scarlett – let’s just say – I found that at this conference – frankly, they gave a damn, everyone did.

I was incredibly impressed by the international folks that traveled from the other side of the world to this meeting.   Melbourne, Milan, Hong Kong, Vancouver, Beijing, Germany, Timbuktu, BFE – what an investment these people made to attend.  How you say? Uhh…No one forced them to be there – they wanted to be there – everyone I talked with wanted to be there – that spirit thing was hovering.

My takeaways – use SplitZone daily, get on these conference calls, find ways to attend future events, Facebook has a “large, diverse and engaged” audience we need to tap into more, get face time with your trading partners, great goodie bag by the way, show up and contribute more, Genie Matthews is still…simply the best, eat more small meals standing up talking with people that want to make you money, don’t use Paula Deen or any butter references in this blog post, find your why (more on that in the next paragraph), be grateful for this network, convenience stores aren’t so convenient in Savannah, you cannot have enough of those little stuffed Monster monsters for your 5 year old, don’t be there at closing time, TFI is a great resource, ask clients about international opportunities, don’t throw toilet paper into chandeliers, stop leaving money on the table and drink tickets in your hotel room, and finally – Be Like Mike (Pettit, that is).

As far as finding your why – WHY are you in NPA?  I have a far better answer to that question now – thanks to Geoff Crews via Meri Laird Jones.  We are all owners of this worldwide network – so I say to my fellow “owners’ as you move from takeaways to intentions to initiatives to execution – OWN IT!

In case you had not heard, the next annual conference is in Las Vegas.  March 2013 – Las Vegas.  Bring cash, plenty of business cards, and prepare to keep your hands on the table. You and your team need to show up – based on my Savannah experience, clearly – with this NPA spirit it will be more of a gamble not to attend.


Breaking News

29 Mar

Check this out, will ya, please – me and my new friends at CAREEREALISM.

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Two Deep

23 Mar
Most of the blog posts I have written lately are roaming around in my head and are not making it here.  This blog thing gets away from you especially when you are trying to find good people, connect them and make sure everyone has a good time at hiring parties across the country.  Hard to find time when you are trying to find good people that are STILL hard to find.  That is my attempt somewhere between a reason and an excuse for not writing more. I feel better now.

Too Deep or Two Deep?

Too Deep is the pile of resumes you are competing with wrought with wannabes – many, unqualified competition who serve as a hiring manager’s desk clutter as YOU hope yours doesn’t succumb to those who fail to lick their fingers when thumbing through the stack.  We aren’t talking about that “too deep” today though – we are talking about a tactic to use when answering questions during the interview process.

I have often shared with candidates that when answering the hiring manager questions you need to be able to go – Two Deep.  Let me explain.  One deep is the bullet point answer.  We all have the bullet points, the talking points – the I need to make sure I make this point points.  Two Deep requires you prepare to address the follow-up questions when they come – because they will.

“Why?” – “What do you mean by that?”- “Tell me more about that experience.”  Two deep gives you the opportunity to set yourself apart.  You can’t hide when the follow-up question is asked – you either uh..uh..uh…flinch or you can show your work, reveal your belief, or disclose your philosophy.

Let me give you some behind the scenes evidence.  Debriefing a client recently, I asked how things went during the interview.  The client says, “You know she was very sharp and I liked her alot.  I especially liked a couple of her answers.”  The client went on with the specific answers that resonated.  The point – original content plays – the substance of these two answers created the defining moment and the decision to hire this candidate was made.  Quality answers, unique answers, real answers – YOUR answers.

Companies have invested millions to develop questions to extract great answers from you. Several of my clients utilize Behavioral Based Interviewing questions (this is a marginal video but you get the point and have something to click on).  Behavior as in – how did you perform, why did you do that, what was the result, tell me, prove it – show me.  They even ask candidates to take a pre-interview assessment that prepares the interview questions for that specific candidate.  Sophisticated and personal, eh?  You might even conclude (AND SHOULD!) they want to know what you think, what you have done and what you accomplished and dare I say, your impact on the organization.

Am I suggesting you go out and attend a webinar on Behavioral Based interviewing?  Not a bad idea.  What I am suggesting is that you have to provide the hiring manager with some value when you talk.  Bullet point based interviewing this is not.  We need substance.  We need great answers.

As an industry trainier, Ryan Estis has shared with the jobseeker marketplace – you need to –  outprepare and outpresent – your competition.  Take the time to THINK and properly prepare so you can present YOUR answers and show YOUR work.  This is telling your story and we all like a real, good story and a good, REAL story for that matter.

Have you noticed the top business book section at your local bookstore lately?  That is the story.  Stories.  The value of storytelling and the outcome of this interview hinges on your ability to tells yours – the story that best articulates your skill set and gives them reasons to hire you.  As the author of your career manifesto, you should be able to effectively prepared to communicate it.

Employers are begging you to set yourself apart and weave your story into theirs.  So, whether they ask you handcrafted, custom made questions or not – Go Two Deep.

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Resolution Add-on

27 Dec

Time to make your list of resolutions.  Oh, yes it is.  The obvious are there AGAIN – eliminate your debt, lose a few LBs, plan your day better, implement your plan efficiently.  Then there is always the second tier of should dos and nice to-dos.  I wanted to go ahead and point out another realm of resolution – the advanced realm of – NOT EVEN AWARE OF THESE SOFT SKILLS I POSSESS THAT I WILL CHANGE in 2011.

This is the type of year-end post that spews the leftover crumbs of the oft asked, if not daily, question, “Andy, what do you think about this?”

Although my wife and kids never recognize me for this attribute, I listen too well.  I hear the subtleties in your presentation.  In the spirit of the holiday season, sorry but I must ask – Do You Hear What I Hear?

I love the discussions with job seekers that are all about what they said, what the interviewer said, and so on.  As much as I enjoy this back and forth with a job seeker, they mostly dislike the exercise.  BUT – the point here is to examine what you are saying, what you are projecting and what they are inferring. Controlling the interviewer’s inference is critical and you are responsible for their interpretation.

Let’s talk the obvious ones first.  My personal general favorite – flinching.  Next, the word – “probably.”  The phrases – “pretty much” and “I think so.”  I think subtleties cost you.  If you aren’t getting the offers to jobs you want where the chemistry is good, you are projecting tentativeness.  Tentativeness does not begat reassurance.  Reassurance is what you are closing the I want to work here deal with – we need the resolute “I can do it, I know I can because I have done it before, I own my desk” mentality.  They brought you in so your skills are a given, chemistry gets you to the next round, reassurance solidifies employment.

What prompted this post was my recent exchange with a candidate and some things I look forward to pointing out to him.  I had trouble reaching this candidate and he had trouble reaching me.  It was frustrating for both of us.  Believe me it pisses me off when I can’t reach people but I don’t project it (I bitch before the beep and after the hangup.)  It clearly annoyed this guy.  Did he say the words?  No.  He never said, “Andy, I am trying to reach you and it pisses me off I can’t.”  It was the lack of self-control subtlety in his voice.  Do you realize what you sound like?  Do you?   Think it but don’t say it.  Think it but don’t show it.

As much as I appreciated his urgency in reaching me (refreshing), I didn’t appreciate the tone  and actually considered not calling him back because of it.  I write this because his entitlement refrain in the form of terse voicemail tidbits was not some calculated tactic nor was it compelling.  Seething with entitlement, flailing job search guy lacks self-awareness.  Seething with entitlement, flailing job search guy is not owning his search – not practicing a self-control he must possess.  No wonder HR doesn’t call you back.  They may be scared seething with entitlement, flailing job search guy will become angry, workplace violence guy.

Do You Hear What I Hear?  Start listening to yourself.  THINK.  Check your subtleties at the interviewer’s door – in fact, just leave them in 2010.  You may be entitled to unemployment compensation but you are not entitled to say anything like THAT.  Hear what I hear.

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Scrap And Random

29 Oct

I had this great plan to share with you how my inspiration finally showed up last week.  I had to scrap it.  I decided that post was more personal journal entry.  It was so fun to write though.  The words flowed, the points crystal clear, the anger righteous, and well…sometimes you just need to refrain from hitting the “publish” button.  I will probably rework it after letting it steep just a bit longer.

On my mind today, search assignments.  Process Engineers and Senior Process Engineers all over the country need to be found, a Maintenance Manager, an HR Manager.  The work is there – I am calling YOU – YOU need to call me back.

My hiring manager says, “I need to see some results, Andy.”  Those six words attached to my name is really all I need to hear.   She said it matter of fact but in an encouraging tone.

A differentiating factor of the clients I enjoy working with – they use the word “need.”  Need says they have a key opening that will be filled as soon as the right candidate shows up.  One inspiring word.

Now to find those candidates that say, “I have been thinking about making a change, I just haven’t done anything about it.”

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New Post (Finally) Next Wednesday

22 Oct

I finally found some inspiration in 2010. I will tell you all about it in my post next week. In the meantime, had to share the video below that I hope you find inspiring. A great story about a high school football player and the opposing team’s coach in Southern Indiana.

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The ? Of The Unrealistic “JobStar”

16 Aug

“I have a few questions I would like the answers to before we go forward,” says the great candidate for the job.  I recruited the individual for a position down the road.  I interviewed, qualified and re-qualified.  Felt good about the answers.

Person came back with questions -typed an email even – they seemed legit and I liked the effort.  Questions you might have, questions we hadn’t covered yet – “Why is the job open?  What is the bonus structure?”  I knew most of the answers but just needed to clarify a few details with the client.  The candidate was worth getting the specifics for and I like to prove I am different from other recruiters -so…bottom line – I had enough doubt I just wanted to make sure on a few things. I went and got the answers.

I had already failed at this point.

You may know where this is going.  Let’s cut to it.  I get all the answers, we review them and then, ” I AM NOT INTERESTED.” (definitely all caps from my recollection) I pretty much heard a game show buzzer and a large WTF? appeared on the wall in front of me.  I was rather miffed… but not really.  Honestly, this had been an exhaustive search and I was more disappointed in my recruiter optimism than anything.  I was lacking a wise perspective at this point – more pissed than miffed.  Maybe miffed but from the pissed sort of genre.  Ah..emerging clarity.

The real clarity on this conflict came on Saturday morning from my 3 year old.  My wife had taken the 7 year old to the American Girl Store in Chicago that weekend so it was the least I could do to take my 3 year old on a similar outing.  We chose Dunkin’ Donuts.  Seemed like a fair response to the shopping spree in a Dad sort of way.  Between the two outings, we spent $304.99.

You take the 3 year old for donuts – you know you are all about assorted donut holes, varying sprinkles and chocolate milk (see Donut handbook).  What you don’t expect between the donut hole collage and chocolate milk bottle repeatedly teetering on table’s edge is a recruiting mentor to emerge?  The colorful sprinkles needing wiped from her mouth, mouth full of cake donut, chocolate milk drip on her chin and all in a milk throat kind of voice – my Lucy says, “What else you got, Dad?”

I had come full donut circle at the teachings of Lucy Skrentny Leffkowitz.  The candidate’s emailed questions were crystallized into one gigantic question –

“What else you got, Recruiter?”

Big time learning from the smallest recruiter trainer.  Look for her training modules soon but don’t expect candidates wielding this concealed question to resign in the near future.  While the 3 year old in her discovery ASKS the question – the wannabe masks the question with tire kicking, counts a healthy bonus potential that hasn’t paid out in 3 years as income and clings to unreciprocated loyalty with a value system that worked well for his parents.

I failed because I should have re-re-qualified him specifically for his seriousness level – I did not – those darn unvalidated assumptions.  I wish good blog posts came from the victories and not all these learnings.  Now that you know the official question of the unrealistic – You need the song of the unrealistic because I know you wannabe a “JobStar!”

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