Roger Tremblay

Don’t Do This On Your Next Interview

stupidity-3

CareerBuilder.com recently polled human resources pros and hiring managers to compile their annual list of interview quirks and missteps committed by candidates in the past year. Here are this year’s “winners” in which a candidate:

Called his wife to ask her if the starting salary was enough before continuing the interview.

Brought childhood toys to the interview.

Said her hair was perfect when asked why she should become part of the team.

Bragged about being in the local newspaper for alleged theft.

Ate a pizza he brought with him.

Ate crumbs off the table.

Asked where the nearest bar was located.

Invited the interviewer to dinner afterwards.

Stated that if the interviewer wanted to get to heaven, she should hire him.

Asked the interviewer why her aura didn’t like her.

Hard to believe, huh? Well, everyone who interviews a lot of people has similar stories. Some even more ridiculous than these.

PEOPLE, WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?

Last week I received feedback on a candidate who was clearly qualified for the position but proceeded to spend the majority of the time talking about what the next opportunity in the company might be. Needless to say, the hiring manager who had an immediate need was not impressed. Chalk up another one for millennial entitlement and self-absorption.

We can and do prepare candidates for interviews. It’s in our interest to do so after we determine a candidate has the experience and skill set for a position and we judge them to be a good cultural fit.

However, sometimes there’s just no accounting for stupidity.

How Does Your Organization Fit This Dichotomy?

old-vs-new-thinking

This visual may be slightly exaggerated but it’s worth considering if your concerned about attracting high-quality human capital to your organization in the future.

In our recruiting space – marketing communications – we’ve learned that it’s not too difficult to figure out whether someone has the skill set and experience to do a particular job. The tricky part is figuring out whether there’s a good “fit”. And fit has to go both ways. Typically you look at a candidate and evaluate whether or not they will be good for your team but, it’s just as important to determine if your team is good for the candidate. If there’s not a two-way fit you run the risk of hiring a very short term employee.

The reality of today’s talent marketplace is a lesson from Economics 101: there is more demand for good people than there is supply. Competition for the best people is intense and if you don’t play the recruiting game well, you and your organization will be left behind.

So how do you think your organization fits into this dichotomy?

Old Dogs Can Learn New Tricks

social-media

The December 4th issue of the New York Times carried an article by Patrick Gillooly in the Sunday Business section entitled “Why You Need Social Media” Mr. Gillooly puts forth the proposition that a well executed social media strategy is critical for career advancement. Full disclosure: he is Director of Digital Communications and Social Media for the career site Monster and he openly admits his bias.

Reading this article made me question my own preconceived notions. As a recruiter, I live and die by LinkedIn. I use Facebook for keeping up with an array of non-business friends and relatives across the country. So when I think this is a common practice in the business world, I am extrapolating from a sample of one. And don’t get me started on Twitter.

I think Mr. Gillooly makes a good point when he says that excluding yourself from social media means you may not be staying on top of the opinions and workings of people who can have a very dramatic impact on your life and career. By embracing social media, we can create career opportunities from simply expanding our networks, improving our knowledge and exposing ourselves to jobs we may not have otherwise considered.

So, please join me in taking the first step. Go to https://www.facebook.com/roger.tremblay.1690?fref=ts and take a moment to like my company page https://www.facebook.com/PointClearSearch/?pnref=lhc

I guess even us old dogs can learn new tricks.

Happy New Year,

Roger Tremblay

 

What to Wear for an Interview

interview-wear-2-0

Recently, I spoke to a class of college seniors about how they should approach getting their first “real” job. For some reason there’s not a college or university in our country that teaches this. So the level of attention and engagement is unusually high, especially among students paying for their own education. My presentation includes tips on resume writing, interview preparation and techniques, how to use LinkedIn/Social Media and anything else the students want to talk about.

In the most recent discussion the topic that seemed to get the most attention was, “What to Wear for an Interview”. My advice is always the same: wear big boy and big girl clothes. Just because you’re interviewing for a position at an ad agency where people come to work in jeans and tee shirts, that’s not how to dress for the interview. I explained dressing well doesn’t necessarily mean dressing like one is interviewing for a job on Wall Street.

Have some style. Andre Agassi said it best. “Image is Everything”.

So, I’m curious. For any of you agency types who might read this, I’d like to hear your opinion. Also, mention what YOU wore the last time you interviewed.

John T. Molloy’s book, Dress For Success, (1975) popularized the concept of “power dressing”. How does one dress for success in 2016?

Honesty

Honesty

In one of his acts George Carlin had a telling line about honesty, “Everyone appreciates your honesty until your honest with them. Then you’re an a**hole.”

This dovetails nicely with an old recruiter joke. The hiring manager is conducting an interview with a candidate and everything is going smoothly until the interviewer asks an uninspired but common question, “So what do you consider your greatest weakness?” The candidate answers tersely, “Honesty”. Taken aback, the interviewer says, “I don’t consider honesty to be a weakness”. The candidate replies, “I don’t give a damn what you think”.

Honesty is an interesting facet of the recruiting process. Obviously, candidates, through their resumes or interviews, are often less than transparent. On occasion, every hiring manager will admit to the same lack of transparency. And recruiters may be even worse offenders. At PointClear Search, we try to be guided by the principle of telling people what they need to hear, not what they want to hear. And that goes for both clients and candidates.

We try to fix bad resumes and we coach candidates prior to interviews. If the candidate completely blows the interview, we gently tell them why so they won’t make the same mistake again. When it comes down to a small group of finalists in a bake-off, somebody has to lose and often the real reason someone loses is because the hiring manager simply liked someone better. I’ve seen some very ugly and emotional reactions when I’ve delivered bad news and I’ll admit to sugar-coating the truth when I know a candidate is very emotionally invested.

In the used car business, there’s an old saying “How can you tell when the salesman is lying? His lips are moving!” Politician’s also fall under the same banner. We try real hard not to be that cynical but some days it’s very hard.

I Support Diversity in Hiring

Compass

It seems that almost everything that Ad Age publishes lately both online and in print has some editorial devoted to the diversity issue. There are certainly plenty of comments about how women still do not have the same kinds of opportunities that men have in the broad field of marketing communications especially at the senior level. And of course, there are no scarcity of comments on how our industry is not reflective of the general population in terms of employing African Americans, Hispanics and Asian Americans. My liberal friends tell me I should feel guilty because I make my living helping these “racist, misogynistic SOB’s” continue to acquire talent perpetuating these injustices.

In looking back at my own career in media sales, I know that I hired many more women than men for the very specific reason that they were the best salespeople available at the time I was hiring. I used to say I would hire a little green person from Mars if they could sell but no one like that ever came in for an interview. But, neither did any significant number of “minority” candidates. I was compensated on my ability to deliver results so I always tried to do the best I could with the talent available. I wasn’t going to be a social engineer with my career and the careers of others on the line.

Yes, in a perfect world we would have an industry whose work force more accurately reflects the population as a whole. But, if one lacks the skill set or experience to do what my client needs for a specific role, I can’t recommend that she/he hire you. Yes, I understand the Catch-22 of a biased education system and limited opportunities at the entry level. Is that fair? I don’t know. Life’s not fair.

I wonder how many other industries can claim they’re doing a better job of providing the “level playing field” than advertising.

Time To Get Serious About Hiring.

BigBen

This week THE WALL STREET JOURNAL ran a piece in the Personal Journal section titled “The Six-Month Job Interview – The Hiring Game: Surviving The Job-Interview Marathon”

The article described, in detail, the long, drawn-out process that some employers put prospective candidates through before they are hired.  From this recruiters point of view, some of it certainly makes sense but, much of it is just plain poor business practice. In the marketing communications space where we work, the reality is that the demand for top-tier talent far outstrips the supply – it’s a buyer’s market!

On more than one occasion this year, after being thoroughly vetted by us, PCS delivered a really top candidate to the client for an initial interview.  The interview goes well, there is a promise of a second round of interviews with, perhaps multiple participants, and then the whole process drags on for days, weeks and, sometimes, months.  Perhaps scheduling multiple interviewers is difficult, maybe the daily demands of the company require immediate attention or, heaven help us, the hiring manager and the HR manager have a different opinion on the urgency of filling the position.

But, the end result is always the same: the candidate gets frustrated and tired of waiting, has other suitors who act quickly and accepts another job.  As a result of feet dragging our client loses out on a potential valuable employee.  We go back to square one. And, the former future star possibly has a less than favorable opinion of “Glacially Slow, Inc.”.

Most of the companies we deal with say, “our people are our most valuable asset”.  You would never know it from their hiring approach.

2016 Resolutions

 

I resolve to do a better job for my clients by:

  • Learning as much as possible about my client’s company and culture.
  • Forwarding as many exceptional candidates as the market provides.
  • Telling my clients what they need to hear as opposed to what I think they want to hear.

I resolve to do a better job for my candidates by:

  • Learning as much about my candidate’s character and integrity as their experience and skill set.
  • Keeping them in the loop on the hiring process with regular communications.
  • Providing them with realistic expectations and thorough preparation for interviews.

And, I resolve to continue to ALWAYS tell the absolute truth to both parties.

This May Sound Like Roger’s Old Guy Rant But I’m Gonna Spit It Out Anyway.

Higher Character

At PCS we do a lot of recruiting for digital media sales people and sales managers. Almost always the hiring manager will give little or no consideration to someone who started out selling traditional media and then made the conversion to digital media. Now, I’ll admit my bias because I was once one of those people but, I believe this is basically a really bad decision. Here’s why.
Back in the day when ads were sold on cave walls, the companies my partners and I worked for spent a fair amount of time and money on training us to be professional sales people. We knew our product and we became really proficient at the art of selling. And, it was an ongoing educational process.
Today we see digital media sales people who know the technology they are selling but have never been trained in the basics of sales techniques and strategies. Their companies either don’t believe in sales training or don’t have the money for it in their startup budgets. Those who work for a site that everybody wants make a lot of money and present themselves as professional sellers. Are they really good, or is it just that they work for a company that’s momentarily hot?  And, unbeknownst to the so-called sellers are crews of geeks feverishly working to replace them with programmatic buying.
It’s been said a good sales person can sell anything. I don’t believe that especially after an ill-fated stint as a car salesman. But, I do believe that a really good, well trained traditional media sales person will easily make the transition to a digital sales pro. The matching of the advertisers needs to the media delivery remains the same basic concept.And, the proof can be found by simply viewing the profiles of the vast majority of today’s digital leaders.
Oh, and there’s one additional hiring flaw that must go away now. It’s that hiring manager “must have” qualification demanding someone with “contacts” that are going to turn into immediate sales. I’m not sure that was a realistic expectation in the “good ole boy” days of selling and it sure isn’t true now.
I’ve always believed that hard work and enthusiasm covers up a multitude of sins and I still believe it’s true in today’s marketplace. Maybe those who’ve successfully navigated a couple of decades of traditional media sales before moving into digital sales can teach us all something. But first, you must give your next sales stars a chance.

Job Candidates Do You Own This Nightmare?

Nightmare

It’s every recruiter’s nightmare. You spend hours sourcing and, then, in great detail, present the perfect candidate. Followed by negotiating an offer that both the client and the candidate find acceptable. After a verbal acceptance, the candidate uses the offer as leverage to gain a better deal from their present employer. In the end, Ms./Mr. Recruiter, it makes you look stupid in front of your client and left feeling resentful that the candidate “played” you.

But as the saying goes, “Fool me once, shame on you: fool me twice shame on me”.

Candidates who accept counter offers make a huge mistake. The statistics are undeniable. People who accept a counter offer are usually gone within a year. Why? They remember how unhappy they were in the first place. And recruiters have long memories. Some refer to this (unethical) move as a “bridge burner”. And know this, smart employers NEVER make counter offers because they’ve learned from past experience unhappy employees always come to the senses. And leave.

While today’s economy teaches people there is no such thing as corporate loyalty (except in rare instances), personal loyalty has never been stronger. Baby boomers were taught early in their careers to never make enemies because one never knew where that person might end up – client, boss or colleague. This is a lesson many Millennials don’t seem to have fully grasped. And, they wonder why they encounter such strong resentment from their more experienced associates.