Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The best and the worste of us

Einstein got rejected from many universities and failed entrance exams, Bill Gates and many other famous people known or their success in various fields have dropped out of college and even high school and still gone on with their lives with great achievements. http://www.collegedropoutshalloffame.com/index.htm Is a website that celebrates these individuals.

I start this post with the above examples to prove to myself that even the greatest most brilliant people in human history have some "failures". The important thing seems to be that we move on determined to make good with the rest of our lives. So my hope for myself and for others is that don't worry about the mistakes of yesterday, instead do the best today so that the future is better than where you are now.

I have to admit that I've made some tragic mistakes in my life but as the old saying goes, who hasn't right? Maybe you can relate to some of this. I've sometimes had issues with boredom at work. Sometimes this is an onset of not enough "stuff" to do and at other times, I have plenty of "stuff" but nothing stimulating or interesting. After all, variety is the spice of life isn't it? I've had some superb coworkers whom I've admired. I've worked with people who were very talented and seemed to accomplish tasks and achieve success with great ease. I've worked with those who seemed endlessly enthusiastic about their jobs even when things weren't going so well. I've worked with those who were dedicated and regularly burned the midnight oil.

Who are these people and what's their secret?

Whatever the case, a positive attitude is definitely a good thing and people are drawn to optimism. Listed below are some common "types" of people who can really ruin an otherwise good working environment. Most people don't even know that they're like this. It's about time someone told you to your face what you're doing wrong and most importantly that it's hurting people around you, your chances for promotion and that ultimately you're really the one who loses out if you don't change your ways. So don't be one of these.

1. The Gossip: You may not think you're a gossip but this is how you know if you are. In the last 7 days, how many conversations have you had about other people? This includes celebrity news. "Did you hear so and so is getting a divorce?" and people in the office "So and so came in late to work yesterday...again!... that guy never shows up before 11!". If you are constantly talking about other people you should be aware, most people don't like you, even the people you talk with. Why?

a) You are obviously not to be trusted with secrets or sensitive information. If you blab so much about others, how are they ever going to feel safe sharing anything personal with you? In this regard, sadly you're the one who loses out because nobody will ever trust you enough to become truly close to you.
b) It just doesn't make you look good when you're talking about others. Sure Fred might have cheated on his wife and he's scum for doing that but why are you getting so much joy talking about it?
c) Gossip ruins moral. If you're going to talk about someone, say it to their face, there's nothing like a good rumor to destroy the fiber of a positive work environment and break the social contract of trust.

The solution: STOP now. Whenever you get the urge, talk about something else. A hobby, something positive, music, movies, etc. It's not too late to change. It might take a little while, but you'll notice people warming up to you after a while.

2. The Jokester: You were the class clown in high school, you're still the life of the party at gatherings, and you just have a knack for cracking people up. In the right situation, you've even made a bad situation good and gotten kudos for it. Be careful. Joke too much and nobody will take you seriously, especially your boss and the executives at firm you're trying to impress. Sure they like a good laugh and they'll remember you better for it sometimes especially at larger organizations. However, be careful. Don't make the jokes the center of attention and the only thing they remember about you. When it comes time for promotion, they'll question how serious you are when it comes time for promotion. They'll wonder if you're really cut out or "mature" enough for all the "business" and "responsibility" of management. You don't want your last joke to be the only thing they remember about you. You want your work and your abilities to shine.

The solution: Don't stop completely because being well liked is a critical part in getting along with others and for influencing people. Just self edit a little. The next time you're in the presence of an executive or you're participating in an important meeting, bring up a well thought out, researched point and contribute to the "business". Act as if you already have the promotion in the sense that you're proving capable of handling the added responsibilities. That should really impress them and when it comes time for the promotion, at least you'll be a more serious candidate.

3. The Backstabber: This one's just ugly and the good ones hide behind the mask of a friendly smile. Who are these people and what motivates them? Simple, all they want to do is climb the corporate latter. That's it. Fortunately, there really aren't a lot of these people around since most people, not even bosses and executives, like people who stab partners, coworkers, and others in the back to rise to the top. They know that once you become peers with them, you'll just do it to them to get to the next level so why should they trust you?

The only sad part is if this person happens to be your boss. That means when there's a mistake he'll probably blame it on someone he has authority over and that person could be you or someone else on your team. You might end up being blamed for something you didn't do or even worse that your boss did himself which was a total disaster. Hopefully, you'll get to say your peace but sometimes you just don't get that opportunity. Over time though these people really do get what they deserve. Believe me, I've personally seen it myself. One of the blog posts on here has something to do with this very topic.

No solution. Just repent and change your ways. Refocus on being good to others. It pays higher dividends. If not, then suffer the consequences. You'll be a bitter lonely old fart some day with a tragic life of destruction instead of building relationships.

4. The Leach: Sorry the label is so harsh but it's true. This person exists in schools, work place and social groups. At school, this is the member of the study group who is always late, never prepared and always asking for your notes. At work, this person always dumps work on you, is out sick frequently, and is always asking others to do favors like email someone for additional files on the project you guys are all working on when he could just do it himself. He is nothing but a draine on people and resources. In social groups, he's the one who needs constant attention who's life is filled with perpetual drama. he always needs a shoulder to cry on or a drinking buddy because of some recent incident with a girl, money, job or all three. These people have a few things they need to get straight. First, just get your act together and be a responsible adult. Just handle it. We all have bills, families, and have stuff happen to us, take responsibility for goodness sake! In some cases just bite the bullet and suffer the consequences for your bad decision. It's like the old saying goes, "You made your bed, now sleep in it."

The Solution: Really, these people are tough to change. The advice is really for people around "The Leach". It's a good thing to try and help others, but at some point, when it interferes with your family, school or work, you have to cut ties. Try not to be mean but somehow you need to separate yourself from this person or else he'll bring you down with him.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Technical Outsource Professional Resources, Corporation is a company I started in October of 2006. It was started to server clients with temp, temp-to-hire, or permanent Full Time hiring needs.

Check us out at www.topresourcescorp.com

Services offered include:
1. Contingent fee based recruiting services
2. Contract corporate on-site and off-site recruiting services
3. Dedicated / Retained recruitment services
4. Resume writing and interview techniques training

Friday, January 16, 2009


TRUE STORY (names and certain details changed for protection):

Staffing is an interesting business. Generally it has been a good business for me. I've met some of the best people in this industry and have worked with people who are dedicated like nobody's business. There is just one incident that I can truthfully say which I am writing about is the single worste experience of my (professional) life. It is the kind of experience you hope never happens to you personally and it is in a way very confusing because it just doesn't make any sense. I will change names to protect the identities of those involved and I will try my best to stick to the facts.

I've been in the IT Recruiting business since the year 2000. Times had been tough recently and I was looking for work. I get a call from a fellow recruiter who works for Global Hire Me Staffing Services. She begins to explain this great opportunity to work contract (this means on a temporary basis for an hourly rate) for their client in Orange County, California. The phone interview goes well and we decide that I should meet the boss/owner of GHMS who is acting as the recruitment department manager for their OC client. (Basically, the client had just started it's HR department and so the VP of the department, who had been there about 6 months, decided that he would outsource the recruitment to one company, GHMS). *Side note: The VP of the HR department and this guy from GHMS had worked together before in a similar fashion at a company across the street.

The interview with "The Boss" of GHMS goes well. In fact, I met with at least 3 of the managers at the client's site and later found out through TB (The Boss) that everyone had selected me to be the best person for the job out of all 3 candidates who were in the running. At the time I had been interviewing at one other place but that opportunity had not really turned out as expected. After a little negotiation with the specific terms of the agreement and dollars mainly, we decided that I would start work on November 4th as a contractor for an hourly rate + bonuses + expenses.

NOTE: I've worked as a contract, employee of major corporations and as a commissioned staffing company headhunter. More on the difference on one of my previous posts "31 flavors of recruiting".

I find out that although TB is the acting Staffing Manager for the client, he's rarely in the office. His own office is so far he needs to fly in once a week or every other week or so. He runs an independent business that services many other clients while simultaneously representing this particular one on an on going basis. I know this fact because it was communicated to me as such from at least 3 individual including TB himself. Also, he bills the heck out of this client.

So I show up at the client's site in OC the first day, Nov. 4th and realize that nobody is there to greet me. The VP of HR for the client, comes out and asks me if I was supposed to meet TB there? Obviously nobodhy was prepared. No computer or email. I have a habit of being overprepared. As a result, I was glad to have brought my lap-top and cell phone. (Having been a contract recruiter before, I understood possible snafoos early in the process but this kind of took the cake).

I communicated my needs for email, phone, and computer to both TB and VP of HR for client. Three (3) days go by and still no resolution. I continue to work with what I got. This is when the first interesting event occurs in a long series of mind boggling things. In a follow-up call TB asks me when he can expect to get a hire from me. --- That OBVIOUSLY took me aback.

A) It's only been THREE (3) days since I started.
B) NOBODY gave me any direction or tools.
C) What the heck is going on in Alice in Wonderland over here?

I have to say this question gave me pause. I had to think. If you are not in the staffing industry, this question might not really have any meaing. However, to me, I found this an interesting question considering the circumstances. I felt it was a bit early for this question but he's the boss right? Put it this way. If you needed to build a house, a team of builders with all the tools and materials "might" be able to do it in 1 month if their fast and maybe 2-3 months if they're average right? How long would it take one man with a hammer and no direction from the client/manager?

I gave the best answer I could. I said something to the effect that I could not be able to accurately determine a hire at this point and that it was too early for me to make that estimate although I was making contacts and doing everything I could. I told him also that I did not want to make empty promisses when I knew full well there was still a lot of work to be done. TB seemingly accepted the answer. ---- He tells me a different story later by the way.

This question resurfaces about every two or three days thereafter. As the weeks move on, I was able to give more feedback. Also, I began submitting weekly reports that clearly depicted progress. In 4 week's time, and after being asked about half a dozen times, I was able to say that I expected 2 hires. Although not a "done deal" yet both seemed very advanced in the process and shown very sincere signs of wanting to join and managers a desire to make an offer. To have 2 hires in the first 30 days is above average success. (Averaging 2 permanent hires per month is nothing remarkable, however accomplish this in the first month is truly an achievement).

NOTE: To better understand this might be hard for some people. How hard is it to just find two bodies with A, B, C skills and just get them hired? It doesn't work like that. This really requires thorough explaning but let me just use an illustration. In sports you can't just throw Kobe Bryant into any team and expect that team to win a championship. Not only that, to even get along and be as good as he would be with the Lakers and Coach Jackson. Just because you have an opening for a Point gaurd doesn't mean any point gaurd will work with your coaching style, the members of your team, your fans, the practice regimine, philosophy of how to win, etc. etc etc. You get the picture? Not to mention there aren't a lot of Kobe level stars to begin with. Yes, we truly take every detail into consideration.

Step one, we have to get accustomed to how things work at the client's site before we can accurately assess the best fit. ---- Rule of thumb: It usually takes 2-3 months to make the first hire and then average 1-3 hires per month thereafter depending on the complexity and difficulty of positions.

My duties were to 1) meet and understand hiring managers and develop relationships with them, 2) understand hiring needs/open positions thoroughly and submit great quality candidates, 3) submit feedback and reports to TB and VP of HR as well as the client/hiring managers.

As the days turned into weeks, I genuinely felt the momentum growing and my pipeline of candidates increase significantly with high quality people. I have to say I was feeling great about my work and was getting positive feedback. I really felt this was going to last. I felt lucky to have landed such a great gig during such hard economic times. My relationship with the managers were growing and I was getting to seriously understand their needs. I felt great about the job, the work environment, peers, hiring managers and my own performance. Also I was constantly receiving positive feedback for my performance from everyone, including the managers and even TB himself.

I submitted my first invoice on the 15th as agreed. I submitted 2 invoices per month which included my hours worked and any normal expenses such as meals with candidates or managers and $50 cell phone alotment per month. Payment was due in 5 days as agreed. The first check bounced. --- UHHH what the????

NOTE: Ok I was a little shocked but I kept my cool. It happens right. You have a particular month with unexpected bills and how embarassing. So I played it cool. TB probably just made an error and is embarassed, so I thought. (I find out later that he had a bad habit of doing this).

We talk and TB agrees to make good the following Tuesday. That day comes and goes with no check and no phone call or communication. Puzzled, I called TB who again promisses to make good on the following Tuesday. The second Tuesday comes and goes and now the second invoice is due along with the first. -- Uhhh slightly frustrated....

I called TB each time the invoice was due and finally we set an appointment to meet. TB flys down --- (to pick up his third check, as it turns out from the client, this month. Ok what this means is that TB is submitting his own invoices which includes payment for my hours but he is not paying me. Of course I didn't know this little tid bit of info until a bit later).

Anyway, in this meeting TB explains he is under some financial difficulty as his business credit had been reduced. *Considering the difficult economic times, I think to myself, this explaination seemed reasonable. I felt a bit of compassion for him. However, what still concerned me was how poorly TB had handled the situation. All he had to do was call me and tell me this before instead of making promisses he couldn't keep. -- Right? Isn't that what you would expect?

After a very long time, TB finally pays. You better believe I cashed the check immediately. I left the office right away and went straight to the bank. TB's attitude towards me had become increasingly hostile I noticed as well. He had become quite aggressive about the details of each candidate that I had submitted and who was going to get hired, etc. etc. I did find it a bit offensive and needless. However, I gave him the answers each time. I found out later that TB was under pressure for not making hires previously (before I was hired). Whatever the case, I was doing the best I could and seeing good results. I had evidence by the fullness of quality candidates in my pipeline and I had addressed each need promptly while receiving great posative feedback along the way.

So here's the deal. Things start to go seriously south pretty quickly. We have another meeting where TB asks to see resumes of current and active candidates. Ok so there might have been about 6 or so positions for which I had about 15-18 qualified people in the pipeline....this is like week 5 from starting without a computer, desk or phone or email. I would have to say this is objecitvely speeking good progress. Seriously, great progress. I managed myself and I did everything by figuring it out. I had many people scheduled for first and second interviews. I mean we were in good shape.

Strangly, after the meeting with TB, guess what? I got fired.

Here's how it went down....

So I finally get paid for my final invoice which represneted 3 weeks of work. I cashed the check like I said previously.

We have that meeting where I show him 15-18 resumes and details of where they are in the process. In this meeting TB tells me he wanted to fire me the week before....on what grounds I don't know????? and that I was wrong for submitting a candidate to a manager for one of the positions that I had someone good for since there was someone else (he had recently hired) who was responsible for that group. So that's a whole other story but he hires a second recruiter and asks me to show her the ropes right? Guess who replaced me later? Guess what her experience with this TB guy was like? --- Exactly the same!!! Guess what? Is there any surprise there a list of people who were cheated by this guy?

Ok so anyway this was all confusing to me at the time. A week previous to my last day, he had hired someone out of the blue to be my counterpart (this explains his original statement of wanting to fire me before right? Not really....she is only handling 1/4 of the load I was responsible for). Anyway, I already had 2 or 3 people before her arrival for this group and so I was just following up....you know, providing good service. Well even after careful explaination TB continued to be upset. It made no sense to me.


Anyway, VP of HR for client, offers to work direclty with me. He tells me I'm DOING A GREAT JOB!!! I agree that it would be best and that I've had some troublel with TB. That I've wanted the same thing but could not approach "the client" about it due to my duty with TB. I was glad "the client" approached me! I tell TB, and he gets upset. He has a 45 minute to 1 hour talk with VP and the very next day I get fired.

I submit my final invoice to TB and VP. They get ignored. I also submit my final recruitment report.

I soon find out that TB has a hsitory of not paying his bills (mentioned earlier).

TB threatens legal action and I'm confused. I was the one who was cheated, how can this guy sue me I wonder? ???

I report TB to all the government agencies that should know about his conduct.

Update: 1/18/2009

I found out through another lawyer (representing the before mentioned individuals who are in pursuit of a law suit against TB) that TB was declined by some laywers but finally has found legal council and that he should contact him. I spoke to TB's lawyer, who promises to return the call but does not. I gets my own legal representative. Now it's a matter of what to do.

I know I'm right.....I just don't know if I'm going to get justice.

Update 2/11/2009

So....since the last post.... there's been a little back and forth between TB's lawyer and my lawyer who happens to be a family member. Anyway a lot of nonesense mostly. TB's lawyer is merely a messanger.... he forwards requests made by TB. If I had to guess, I would say that TB's lawyer doesn't really believe TB either. The guy is a nut really. So check this out. TB owes me $5k lets say. He hires a lawyer...mabye $100-200 per hour on the inexpensive side? Lets say he spends $500-$1000. What's the point of all this right? I mean....we're not talkn about $10s of thousands or hundreds of thousads. It's just not worth going through all of this, especially when all 100% of the evidence is against this guy. Some people are simply unreasonable. It's two things.

1. This guy is just a greedy cheating SOB.
2. This guy is a bully and that's it. He's won 3 out of 4 doing things this way as it turns out. How? Simply because most people either settle or give up. ME? HELL NO. ALL THE WAY TO COURT IF YOU SCREW ME BUDDY!

So he offers a settlement of say $3k. Stupid... right? Why is he offering a settlement if his argument is that I don't deserve the payment I'm billing him for? The fact is, I billed TB, TB billed client, Client paid TB for my bills.....TB does not want to pay me.

Crazy....this guy is just out there.

UPDATE: 2/13/2010

I won TWO Law suites. One filed by TB and one I filled against him in small cliams court. Bastard closed his business account. That's OK my judgment is on HIS PERMANENT RECORD AND I have 10 years to collect!!!!

Lesson: Don't give up and don't let yourself be bullied.

I'll collect on my invoices eventually....believe me....I'm not done.....


I'm in the process of collection. The guy closed down his business bank account....of course he did. I'm filing paperwork to get him to pay. This is such BS. How do people get away with this crap? One thing is for certain, he's got tihs on his record. That's right, he lost a law suit where he was charged with an unpaid invoice.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Many Faces of Recruiting

The Junior Agency Recruiter
The Senior Agency Recruiter
The "real" Headhunter
The Corporate Recruiter
The Executive Search Headhunter
Specialized Recruiter (IT, Finance, Accounting, etc.)
Contract Recruiter

Recruiter, Headhunter or Staffing Specialist. A recruiter’s primary objective is to meet the needs of his customer and introduce qualified candidates to close open positions. His customer can be a Manager, Director, Executive, Owner or other decision maker of a company with a job opening. The bottom line is to find the perfect candidate who has the appropriate skills, years of experience, education, and personality traits that are needed to get the job done and fit into the corporate culture.

There is a world of difference between your average recruiter and headhunter. Let’s be honest we all have our strengths and weaknesses no matter what we do. Let's clarify any misconceptions about what "recruiters" actually are and what we do in our jobs.

Agency Recruiters can also be called "Headhunters" if they actually go out and proactively hunt for talent rather then passively screen job applicants. Now a days the two terms are interchangeble but it's really not in my book. The strengths of a good agency or staffing firm recruiter is that they are quick, have access to specialzied technology, resources, networks of contacts, (essentially software tools) and are prompt with follow up. A good agency recruiter is highly service oriented and make the client feel as if he is the center of the recruiter’s universe. On the flip side, the recruiter may only deal with the Account Executive of the agency who in turn is the real face of the staffing service at least to the client (client = company with job openings).

Junior Agency Recruiters: Most agencies (especially the big ones), like to hire people with like 1-2 years of sales experience. They do this because what you learn in a sales environment is similar to how you need to perform in recruiting. Also, if you have too much experience, it becomes challenging to unteach you bad habbits and retrain you into the way that they want you to perform (the recruiting agency). A college degree and 2 years of experience is ideal. Also, they don't have to pay you ver much. The down side: Exactly what you get, a junior 2 year out of college grad who really doesn't know anything about the business world or the positions he's recruiting for.

***My oppinion --- THIS is where a lot of bad recruiters are today. The real problem is in training. A lot of companies do a very poor job in training their people correctly and lack the follow up lessons with proper structure which over time allows these guys to become complacent and form really bad habits. It's a real disservice to all parties involved, especially their clients.

The term "Headhunter" is used to describe the most aggressive, specialized form of recruiter. This is a high level of performance that requires resourcefulness and tact as well as pursuasiveness and an understanding of the niche industry one is recruiting in. To me, being called a "headhunter" is a privilege you have to earn.

At this level, the recruiter becomes a "headhunter" by going beyond merely the processes and transcending training. A true headhunter is imaginative and resourceful in locating top talent and introducing them to a fitting job opening. They thoughtfully engage in meaningful business conversations and about realities in life that play significantly into decisions about job opportunities. Sometimes headhunters get a bad rap because they are seen as evil deceitful sleezey types who bypass the receptionist at all costs even resorting to lies and suave to get to a candidate or hiring manager at a highly gaurded company. The headhunter might pull away top talent which makes this company resent them for doing so. What people fail to realize is that there is another side to this coin. If that employee was treated farely in the first place and paid what he deserved, he wouldn't have had a reason to leave. Obviously, the recruiter was working for a company that could offer something that the former employee wanted and felt he deserved but was not given. It's a win for the recruiter's client and hopefully a lesson for the company that lost that prized employee and obviously a win for the employee who found something better.

As mentioned before, companies can either loathe or highly value "Headhunters" because what they do is a tremendously valuable service and extremely hard diligent work. They have to ferret out top talent, identify them, engage them in conversation and introduce a top performer from one organization and put him into another one which values and needs his skills. Does that sound easy to you? Maybe you should try it and find out for yourself. :P

A headhunter is a master of networking and cold calling with exceptional interpersonal skills. He is a serious negotiator and truly a solutions provider. Asside from that he is methodical, organized, MUST manage his time well, and be very tenacious and have thick skin.

Corporate Recruiter - The strengths are in HR process, documentation and balancing a broad range of needs. The corporate recruiter has a specialized group/corporate culture that he supports. Over time he gets to really understand the nooks and crannies of his company culture. He also has to balance reporting, process enforcement, and mostly administrative tasks which slow recruitment but uphold a more controled environment. The corporate recruiter sometimes uses agencies / staffing firms (mentioned above) to suppliment his own efforts when the need arrises. This is a different kind of role although the end goal is the same. Corporate recruiters of course need to ultimately make hires and close open positions.

Exeucitve Search Recruiters - These recruiters specialize in finding leadership members such as VP or C level executives such as CEO of corporations. Often they are retained (which means they get paid a fee up front for a dedicated effort and often at the back end as well when an actual hire is finally made). Since the time and energy put into searching individuals at this level is very specialized and demanding the fees make sense. These recruiters specialize in high level searches and often are former executives themselves with established networks.

Look, recruiters are just people who serve needs. It's a service. It's very intensive, time consuming, and laborous (often working around the clock late into the midnight hours and early mornings to catch people on the East Coast). It's a thankless job at times since really everyone just wants results but hey....someone has to do it.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Memorable resumes - A look back

I've been a recruiter now 8+ years and you can believe I've seen tens of thousands of resumes along the way and spoken to many of them for positions that I had been working on at specific times. After a while the whole thing becomes a big blur but the ones I end up remembering for some reason are not necessarily the outstanding applicants but the horribly bad ones. So here's a brief summary of some of those people I've come across who just made me say "What the heck?" To protect their identities and also to avoid any legal issues, I'll disguise specific info.

The PhD.
This guy had a Bachelor's in Computer Engineering, Masters in Physics and Computer Engineering, PhD in Physics from some very well known Universities.

At the time of our discussion he was working on campus in the Computer Science department as a computer tech and Teacher's Assistant. How did we end up getting in touch? He submitted his resume and then called me about a job that paid $22-25 per hour. The interesting thing is that this was an entry level position for a Desktop support technician. Not only that but he was looking for anything about $18 per hour. I don't know what this guy is doing now but there is no way we would have considered him for the position we had open at the time.

It just makes me wonder what he was thinking.

The Shotgun guy
I remember this guy from when I was at a very large financial company during it's hayday. As a company we were doing very well and growing tremendously. (We were the leader in the industry actually). We probably had at least 200 open positions on a given month and I was in charge of around 30 of them. He still shows up from time to time and I always know it's him because he applies to everything.

I mean litterally, he applied to all 200 of the open positions including VP level jobs that he clearly could not possibly qualify for. I remember opening up his file and checking out his resume.

Guys like this, sorry to say, are typically at the lower levels and have no clue what they want to do so they just apply for everything hoping they get a call on something. -- NOTE: THIS IS A VERY POOR approach to say the least.

There are some obvious issues with this approach and they become even more visible when the positions are with the same company. I can only hope he figured out that nobody wants to hire someone who is that confused.

Resume Tips - Basics

*Originally posted Oct, 2005

So there's a lot of information out there about resume writing. Well, why not offer another one? This is coming from a recruiter with experience in various industries and feedback from hiring managers. Take it for what it's worth. If you're smart, you'll take this seriously.

*A good resume is straight forward, simple, easy to read, detailed, and well organized. If I thought people would understand what that meant, I would stop here but 90% of people do not. Yeah, no exaggeration, 90% of you out there have poor resumes or resumes that could use serious improvement.

A hiring manager should be able to determine if he/she wants to bring you in for an interview within 5-7 seconds. People are simply too busy to waste time figuring out a puzzle or a mess of a resume. The number one rule - keep it legible and well organized.

Common mistakes #1: Formatting.
A common mistake is to over-format with numerous types of font, using tables and cells, and decorative color schemes and pictures. Anything outside of just Bold, underline and italics is unnecessary. Most hiring managers aren’t going to be impressed with decorative resumes. Rather they are interested in finding skilled motivated people who can do the job. Keep it simple and easy to read. Do no more than bold or underline headings. Use Italics sparingly.

Common mistake #2: Length.
No need to write a book. If the hiring manager wanted to read a novel, he’d do it at the comfort of his own home and nobody's impressed with how verbose you can be. In fact a resume that is too long will have managers questioning if you lack some basic common sense skills.

Short concise sentences or bullets to highlight key skills and accomplishments do nicely. Likewise don't feel confined to the old fashioned "one pager". Two to three pages or even four is completely acceptable. Positions that require a PhD or other major advanced degree might require additional attachments, however most of us don't fall into this category.

Common mistake #3: Consistency.
Although it is important to be a well rounded person, rarely do employers interview people first and then later decide what position they think the candidates might fit into.

Usually, you are interviewing for a specific need the company currently has or projects to have in the near future. For that reason, you must decide where your strengths are and really let those areas speak through your resume. Use key words and professional terminology within your industry. Also, it’s ok to have more than 1 version of your resume. Many people have 2, 3 or more, each one geared toward a specific skill set or interest. People are multifaceted and so are the roles we occupy. Your work history, education, interests, or other activities should have some relevance to the position you are applying for. If you have 5 years of experience in customer service, it’s hard to justify your qualifications as the VP of IT. However, 5 years in customer service could easily translate into a sales position. Be consistent in your verbal and written communication about your interests, skills, and align yourself to the purpose of the job you are after. This also means to be realistic.

Common mistake #4: Contact info
It might sounds ridiculous but make sure you have correct contact information on your resume.

It should be the first thing on your resume right under your name. I like to recommend applicants to use the "header/footer" so that your contact info appears on every page. I creates a more professional and consistent appearance as well. A good resume will perk the interest of the reader. Like a good book a well written resume is enticing and informative. How can one make a resume fun to read?

Simple, just make it opposite of confusing and cumbersome and allow it to flow naturally.

Basic rules of thumb:

1. Two to four pages is probably good enough for 75% of the jobs out there.
2. Headings in Bold and/or ALL CAPS: Name, contact info, Summary, Education, Skills, Work Experience, References Available Upon request. (Objectives are a thing of the past).
3. Post on major and niche job boards. Network among your friends as well.
4. Setup job agents to automatically send daily job leads that match your criteria into a bucket or email.

Happy Job Hunting!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Corporate Recruiter - The typical process

*Originally posted May 2006.

Calling someone a recruiter can mean that he/she takes on broad range of activities and responsibilities dependent on multiple factors. For this posting, lets focus on the corporate recruiter.

A "Corporate Recruiter" is someone who works for a corporation and attempts to recommend hires soley for the needs of that company alone. He/she is an employee of that company typically in the HR department. Part of the responsibility of a recruiter is to update people on status. There are emails/phone calls/meetings going back and forth all day discussing "the next steps" in one of many steps in the interview and hiring process. Feedback needs to be given to the candidate, hiring manager, interviews scheduled, background check companies contacted, etc. Most of the time people on one end (such as applicants) have no idea of the challanges that take place simply to get them hired. Hopefully the information below can shed some light on this process. I am going to talk about what happens from an HR and corporate perspective.

Step 1 - Determining a job opening or hiring need / Requisition.
This is often determined by a combination of outside factors such as the economy, profitability of the company, and forcasts on where the business is headed and internal factors such as plans for growth, change, mergers or aquisitions, etc within the department or corporation at large.

Often times the hiring manager has to put together some justification whether formal or informal to get the additional hire approved since there will be an extra expense to hire someone. This justification can be as simple as replacing someone who is leaving or expanding needs due to up coming projects that would demand more manpower.

Step 2 - Going through the approval process.
Once the job is approved and is given the OK it doesn't meant that it can be worked on right away (although at times for high profile needs this might happen).

Formally, it needs to be processed appropriately through the predefined channels by "approvers" who are high ranking execs who make spending and other major decisions. This approval process means that every step needs to be documented. Typically, larger companies (Fortune 500) have an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) which is a web based database used to store and filter resumes, job openings, and track this type of activity to ensure legal compliance.

Going through the approval process might mean that several different layers such as a manager, director, and VP need to sign off which might take a couple of hours to several weeks depending on the size of the company and complexity of the organizing and frankly (the priority of the hire compared to other corporate agendas).

Step 3 - Posting the Requisition and Sourcing.
So the position finally gets approved and posted. All of a sudden it’s visible to the general public. It’s on popular job boards and on the company "Careers" web page.

Now the resumes start coming in with all the creative cover letters of why they should be hired. Some positions get 20-30 resumes in about 2 months others get 100 in 5 days. Imagine a company has 10, 20, 50 or more job openings each with 20 to 100 resumes and you might be able to see why it would take a while to get around to calling everyone back. Simultaneously, the recruiter should be doing his own sourcing on the internet, via referral and any other resources he has at his finger tips leaving voice mails and emails and having conversations with candidates with folks who initially seem qualified for the role in question. However difficult this may be to read, I can tell you from experience that if you're not getting a return call it usually means:

A) you're not qualified, B) you don't appear to be qualified even if you think you are, C) the recruiter doesn't know you exist. Note that calling back someone who isn’t even in the running for the job is last on the priority list of "Things to Do". It's not that we lack common courtesy (I would hope most recruiters like myself really genuinely would like to call or email back every applicant or at least provide some feedback on each applicant's status) however time simply won't allow this to be the case most of the time. Sometimes ATS do this kind of stuff for us automatically.

This means that there is an art to following up appropriately and knowing the fine balance between being an effective applicant by showing enthusiasm and assertiveness and on the flip side, just simply being annoying. Following up on status is good, but don't over do it.

Step 4 - Screening and Interviewing.
The recruiter will call several people, conduct some level of phone screening and resume work history review, a brief enthusiasm gauge and forward those who meet the requirements to the hiring manager. The hiring manager and the recruiter then coordinate with the candidate to set up the first interview. Once this interview is completed, feedback is assessed and then a 2nd and possibley a 3rd interview takes place before the final decision is made. Often times one job opening will get 4-5 initial interviews, 2 candidates that make it to the 2nd round and a decision is usually made by the 3rd if there is one. In a typical environment, once the position is posted and the interviews are started, it might take about 3 months to identify the right person to extend an offer. By the time the person starts it’s been about 4-5 months since the position was first approved. (These estimates are true for most IT and other positions that have a significant impact on overall business functions). The hire cycle can be much quicker for lower or entry level positions but rise as the difficulty of the position moves upward.

Step 5 - Hiring and Closing the Requisition.
Once the right candidate is identified and he/she accepts the offer the position needs to be closed. (The offer negotiation is a whole other ball of wax which actually should have begun from the first conversation with the recruiter and continued on throughout the process to ensure a proper alignment in expectations for all parties involved with the range the position will ultimately pay). However, the position will typically stay posted and appear available until the candidate shows up to work on day one in many cases. This particular detail is specific to each organization. There are last minute things that happen sometimes that prevents the position from being filled and a good recruiter will want to prepare for that event. Another way to handle this is to close the position so no new applicants can be received and then reopen a new one should the original candidate back out.

In a nutshell by the time a position is actually visible on the internet the position has been bouncing around internally in the company for at least 2-3 weeks and at times in larger organizations much longer. Once interviews begin it might take another 4-12 weeks before an offer is made and accepted. Once a position is accepted, it might take another 2-4 weeks before the person actually starts depending on relocation and resignation needs. In all the process can be about 3-4 months before the average IT or other significantly impacting open position is filled. This cycle is much shorter for entry level roles and of course market conditions and resources differ from corporation to corporation which impact effecctiveness of recruitment along with the actual diligence and skills of the recruiter among other factors. These figures are just meant to be generalizations in a broad sense.

1 - If you don’t get a call within 10 business days after submitting your resume, follow up with the recruiter. You may want to shorten this cycle if you know the company is smaller or competition might be fierce for the role. If you leave a voice message make sure it’s short and to the point. Just leave your name. position, and your phone number and date you applied.
2 - If you haven’t heard from the company after leaving your first voice message in 2 business days, call again and leave another message. Wait another 2 days and keep calling for another week without leaving a message. If you cannot get a hold of the recruiter or HR rep then that should be a clear indication of how busy it must be. Leave another message maybe after a week after the 2nd voice message and remind them that you called before. Keep it short. Leave your name, position, date and time of the last message, and your number.
3. If you don’t get called back after the 2nd message you should seriously evaluate whether you really are qualified for the position in question and see if you might be barking up the wrong tree. If you still feel that you are qualified there is a chance that another candidate was already selected or that there are just a lot of things going on. There’s not much you can do except make sure you’re contacting the right person at this point. You may want to get creative and try the hiring manager but ensure you submit him your resume and give him the tools to make some sort of decision on whether you should move forward or not to the next steps. Going straight to the horses mouth might be OK but most companies do have strict policies regarding the hiring process so act on this with caution.

Good luck!

Career Crisis - What now?

*Originally published October, 2006

So recently a close friend of mine has been talking to me about his career. He works for one of the largest energy companies in the world, is enjoying success and challanges but like many of us just isn’t happy. He is wondering if he should continue on the path that he is on or try something entirely different and give himself an opportunity to be more happy in some way. He has been working a new role within his company for the past 6 months which provided new opportunities, exciting challanges, and things to learn, but also brought with it additional stress and extended time at the office, some opportunity to work from home and even multiple out of town business trips. The stress got so bad in fact that this early 30-something started feeling chest pains!

Let’s call my friend Ted. Ted is a conservative responsible up standing young man. He has an MBA from a very reputable University and is just a great guy. He is the kind of guy most people would trust with their children. He’s also loyal, having been with the same company for almost 11 years! He’s going through some sort of "mid career" crisis which he openly admits is making him question his future. I think inevitabley we will or have all shared similar anxieties as Bill.

Most of us started at the bottom in some sort of assistant or other entry level role that required minimal skill. We spent the next 10 years proving ourselves, slaving away so that we could get promotions and raises to afford "the car", "the house", and a few toys along with the benchmark six-figure salary that seemed so meaningful at one time. One day we woke up and realized that the road we were on was just not moving fast enough or even in the direction we thought we wanted to go anymore. It’s funny how the thought of something is often times so fanstastically different then the reality of it. Maybe we’ve become Manager, VP, or Partner but still find ouselves feeling empty. The long hours at the office, in meetings with the same old repetative agendas and themes just isn’t doing it for us anymore.

This is a critical time where most of us can admit to seeing a small window of opportunity that very few of us take. The reason we don't take it is that we're cowards and slaves to our material world. Most people settle at this point because the lifestyle we've worked and bought ourselves into at this point is too difficult to replace starting all over from scratch. Instead, we don’t really do much except gripe and maybe overeat, drink, or find some other distraction to keep us in a state of numbness until the next day.

Typically time dulls the pain and we learn to just deal and come to realize that it’s really not that bad. I have friend who owns his own staffing company who has been experiencing a struggle of related but different sorts. The past 3 years has been stable but not enough growth to satisfy Arthur, my friend, the owner and President. He is constantly worried that losing a large account could be the domino that sets into action the demise of his entire company. He is constantly looking to expand. He just can’t seem to expand beyond his current status quo without something disasterous happening. He usually ends up losing a few key employees and having to scramble to replace the headcount to help maintain his business for a while before he can try to expand again. Ted, on the other hand, is on a very slow and steady rise up the corporate ladder. So slow however that it’s almost unoticeble most of the time. However, he’s got a great pension, established relationshps and a bright future with probably one of the most profitable companies in history. He works very long days, sometimes 15 hours or more, even logging onto his computer from home until 1:00 in the morning before going to bed and waking up again at 6:30 to get ready for work. The biggest issue is that if he continues with this company he knows that some day he will be asked to move out of state away from all of his family and comforts where Headquarters is located. He loves California so is looking for a way that he can stay here. Not only that but his whole life is in a new perspective. He is wondering, is this what he wants to do anymore. Like many of us Ted would like to make a decent living, enjoy time with family and friends, and not worry about his bills. He is willing to work for it but he doesn’t want to sacrifice his health or personal life to get there.

Personally, I’ve experienced a "career crisis" of sorts on a couple of occassions already. I often ask myself if I am doing what I really was meant to or want to do. This is normal I think as it keeps us in check with ourselves and makes us constantly assess our situation to see how we can improve in ways that better suites our changing goals. Not long ago, I got myself into a cush position with my own office and very little supervision. I was earning a good six figures with fat bonuses and at first I was highly productive. Slowly, however, I found myself waltzing in later and later, on two occassions just getting into the office in time for lunch and on a couple of others not showing up at all (I am embarassed to admit this but I don't think I'm alone and I've learned from my experiences). I took excesively long lunches and left early. Ironically, this experience was incredibley depressing and my days seemed the longest. When I first started recruiting, my 12 hour days seemed to just zip by. It’s funny how interesting, challanging work, especially when you have a lot of it can engross you so much that you never even notice the day slipping by.

We look to the future and wonder what’s next? Is this it? Every time we arrive, it’s typically not what we imagined. We are creatures that need constant challange. We need interesting work that keeps us thinking. We need rewarding experiences that fullfill us deeply. What ever your need, go for it. The worste that will happen is you will go back to what you had before or at least have had a new experience to put in your arsenal. If it actually works out, you’ll be happy that you gave yourself the opportunity to take action on your dreams.

*Footnote: Since this article was first written in 2006, many things have changed. Currently, I find myself at a cross roads and asking myself what I want to do. I find myself much more mature, appreciative, and anchored on family and values I hadn't thought about in some time. I'll write more once I figure out what I want to do with myself. For now, I'm thinking a lot and praying.

Getting Rid of Your Demons in 2009

I used to have a blog on another site and so I'll pick and choose some articles which I have written before and add to them as I see fit. I thought this one might be appropriate to start off the year.

Your personal life has a profound affect on your professional life. If you have problems at home they will eventually affect your work. With some people the issues are immediate while others are good at hiding it. In either case, chancess are you would be better off resolving the issues at home before your career goes down the tubes. It will be better for your professional life as well as for you in whole.

Ever hear that term "I have my demons" or "He’s fighting his demons" or something similar? It’s used in movies, books and American conversations when discussing personal struggles, temptations and reoccurring troubles. Often these struggles are related to addiction or some stumbling block in a person’s life that just won’t seem to go away. Interesting though that the term "demon" is used figuratively when it could in fact be the very literal cause of the trouble in the person’s life. Is there a demon in your life?

Drug addiction, gambling, habitual lying, alcoholism, and sexual deviation are probably the struggles that come to mind the most. Most of us struggle with something that holds us back from becoming what God truly intended for us. Materialism is a big one that can have a destructive force on a person’s spending habits. Envy can have a destructive force on a person’s personality as well as affect how he/she treats others and limit the fruitfulness of relationships.
In any respect, it certainly seems to be quite a struggle to overcome these type of life altering negative behaviors whether it is an addiction or spiritual or mental struggle within ourselves. In fact, many addicts claim that they still battle with the temptation to go back to their old habits even after many long years of sobriety. This same pattern of behavior might be true for someone who constantly covets what others have. Do you have to have the latest and the greatest? It’s a daily fight not to go back to the old habit no matter what your “demon”. Are you struggling with an addiction? Are you struggling between the desire to quit something you know is so destructive and harmful to you yet you cannot seem to keep yourself from going back? Have you been addicted to something so long and rationalized it so much that you have become desensitized to it? You are so deep within the bowls of your addiction that you’ve rationalized that everyone else is wrong. One basic clue to see if you have a problem is to observe how the people around you react. Do the people you most love and care about have issues with your behavior? Do you often get into emotional outbursts with your loved ones? It’s not just you, it’s your addiction or “demon” talking. If what you do causes problems with the very people who would give their own lives for you, who love you dearly then you should consider the price you are paying to continue this habit or pattern of behavior. I mean seriously, are they out to ruin your good time or are they genuinely concerned? They are overreacting….is that what you tell yourself day after day, night after night? Another factor is depression. With any addiction there is often well documented proof that depression is associated with it in one form or another. Either right before or right after the behavior there is some time of remorse or “why did I do that”? Memory is linked with depression. Do you find that you often forget the simplest things? It’s become so common that you’ve just accepted it? This is a sure sign of depression and maybe if you dig deeper the depression is a link to your addiction. Try an experiment. Give yourself 20 days of non activity. Abstain from that addiction of yours for 20 days just to see if you notice any changes.

"The Lord works in mysterious ways", we’ve all heard that one. All I know is that the Lord works. He gets the job done. Also, ever heard people tell you "All you have to do is ask"? In fact they quote the verse in the bible that talks about knocking on the door and it will be opened…you know the one. The truth is you have to be sincere. You can’t just ask for the sake of going through the motions but you have to mean it. You have to want to change and finally God has to approve it. You’ll get an answer but you may not like what God has to say.

You’re not alone. We all struggle with something that embarrasses us or makes us ashamed. The ones that need help most don’t think they do and will never ask. Pray for them as well as for yourself and watch God work his miracles. I know I'm praying and working on changes in my life, I hope you'll join me in prayer and change our lives fomr inside out starting with that person in the mirror.

Review of the Economic Crisis started in 2008

It's January 4, 2009 and calling the economy a mess is only scratching the surface.

What we see in the news and all over the air waves is nothing short of constant comparisons with "The Great Depression" which began in 1929 and lasted to the early 1940s. Even the "dot.bom" of 2000 and 9/11 of 2001 didn't have the immediate and lasting impact of "The Great Depression" where people committed suicide in droves after losing their entire life savings and once middle class families litterally starved in the streets.

What we have today might be even worse as not only the American economy is falling appart but the world at large is in a financial crisis in and unprecidented way. When was the last time whole countries declared bankruptcy? http://www.businessweek.com/the_thread/economicsunbound/archives/2008/10/iceland_goes_ba.html

AIG, Bear Sterns, Lehman Brothers, Washington Mutual, and the list goes on to add up to trillions of dollars lost and billions in government bail outs. We are talking about some of the oldest and most trusted investment banks, brick and mortor savings and loans, and mortgage banks completely demolished seemingly overnight. Add some of the most volotile oil prices seen in decades, a massive credit crunch and finally GM, Chrysler and Ford on the vurge of disaster asking for billions in bail outs otherwise they won't last the coming months!

As if that weren't enough, think about this, the job market is in some of the worste conditions seen since 9/11 and getting worse, unemployment is at an all time high and rising, consumer and corporate spending is down to a halt, we are paying for a $10 billion per month war in Iraq with loans from China, the stock market loses or gains 1,000 points almost daily, and home prices are half what they were a year and half ago in the hottest parts of the market leaving these now unemployed, concerned tax payers with homes they can't sell or refinance or even afford anymore.

Ok the sky is falling....... what's the bright side?

1. Things can only get better from here!......Hope for 2009.
2. We have a history making President!
3. We're all in the same boat!
4. Everything....I mean EVERYTHING is on sale!
5. Gas prices have come down significantly!