Better than When We Found It

advertorial

As a boy scout I was taught to always leave a camp site “better than we found it” which, in simple terms, meant scouring the ground for anything that wasn’t part of nature. When camping and in many instances, in life, returning to the natural state is highly desirable. I believe the concept is applicable to each generation and its responsibility to following generations. So, over the next few months I’ll do my best to tackle a pertinent subject from the current national conversation stating with fake news.
The too frequent fake news stories are more than troubling. We can agree it’s a problem, right? And, it’s a big problem when a misguided, gun-toting “fixer” arrives at a pizza joint to free young hostages and an even bigger problem when fake news is influencing free speech and the election process.
Since my career history and my current profession broadly encompasses marketing communications I’m going to address the meteoric rise in paid content (native) and, depending on how it’s presented, where it fits in the fake news universe.
Paid content, or if you prefer, native advertising is not new. Google “Advertorial”. Back in the day advertorials were clearly identified as advertisements. Today’s paid content? Not so much and therein lies the problem. Consider, The New York Times’ content group T Brand Studio, which employs 110 people and Magazine publisher Time Inc. now employs 125 people at its content group, the Foundry.
No advertiser and no reputable media wants to be found guilty of fake news. In the past editor’s managed a thin demarcation line separating edit from advertising. Today the line seems to encourage paid content osmosis.
I’m suggesting the media clean-up its “camp site” rebuilding the wall between editorial (news) and advertising clearly identifying what’s not news. As real news regains clearer visibility the media will recapture its authority and trust while fake news (propaganda) fades back into the shadows where it belongs.
In the end the media, the reader/viewer and our democracy will greatly benefit.

Advertisements

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?

Ad Agency Quandary

loyalty

I recently spoke with a senior media person who has over a decade of solid career growth with a major agency. While discussing her career she confided that she loved and respected her boss but, has no loyalty to the agency. I was shocked as it’s an agency everyone, once upon a time, wanted to work for and many did after toiling as un-paid interns.
What happened? She reflected on the job parts that were once fun – mentoring, teaching and helping others advance their careers. But, that’s before the agency “over-tightened” their financial belts due, perhaps, to razor-thin compensation agreements, overly aggressive demands from corporate HQ to “send more dollars home” or, simply management more concerned about making their yearly bonus at the expense of filling a couple of seats to relieve the pressure of those clocking in more than 8 hours a day.
It seems management forgot work-life balance is real. Family first is a fact. And, when loyalty leaves the building clients are sure to follow regardless of “great fee” arrangements.
Has the time arrived for management to go on an internal listening tour?

What Makes Us Different?

star

Good Executive Search firms follow process. Great Executive Search firms tweak processes. PointClear Search finds way to reinvent processes, not just because we are expected to…but because we can’t help ourselves.

Brands Need Good Leadership

Leadership 1.0

Brands. There’s a lot of talk about brands, branding and the importance brands evolving.
Take Taylor Swift. Hugely successful ingénue country singer who successfully pivoted her brand to main stream vocal Phenom. Like Ms. Swift generations have names and identities and are brands that evolve.
For example, Baby boomers are associated with a rejection or redefinition of traditional values. As a group, baby boomers were the wealthiest, most active, and most physically fit generation up to the era in which they arrived, and were among the first to grow up genuinely expecting the world to improve with time.
Let’s look at today’s punching bag generation – Millennials. I know some, some are my children and in the course of my work – recruiting, I’ve interviewed my share. Most don’t deserve to be defined with the negatively charged commentary commonly described by the press.
In my opinion the Millennial generation is at a brand cross-road. One direction leaves them on the current controversial path. The other path amplifies all that’s good about a generation that trusts, believes in giving back and cares deeply for family. What’s missing, I submit, is leadership of substance to stabilize the generation’s brand and take it to its rightful place.
So, Millennials what are you waiting for?

Don’t Fear Good Executive Recruiters

Fear

Fear is defined as an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat. Good recruiters aren’t dangerous, likely to cause pain nor do they pose a threat. So, why are so many hiring managers reluctant to engage the services of recruiters?

Is it the “fear” of admitting they can’t do everything by themselves?

I’m convinced it has more to do with time and money. They don’t take the time to consider how much recruiters add to the bottom line focusing only on the recruiter’s fee – something they and their management view as a cost or expense. But, if one does the math it’s money well spent.

Take, for example, the revenue lost while the job remains unfilled. Add the cost of the hiring manager’s time devoted to filling the position – time taken away from attending to her/his primary responsibilities. The sum is considerably more than a simple fee and grows dramatically with each day the job remains open. One might factor in the cost of morale as others are tasked with picking up the organizational slack and its impact on current customers.

So, come on hiring managers, quit dragging your feet because some bean counter says recruiters are an expense and call us! No fear. We promise.

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.

Character Counts

Character 1.0

A couple of weeks back, an already-signed-offer-letter-candidate went radio silent for 10 days before finally fessing-up to taking a counter offer. It happens but research shows the majority of people taking counter offers stick around for less than 12 months (they have already told their boss once that they are very willing to explore other opportunities so the boss understands where their priorities are). Knowing this, a lot of companies have a policy against making counter offers.
Most candidates, who take counter offers, immediately alert and offer an explanation to the hiring manager if, for no other reason, because they understand the value of reputation. As we in the media business learned early on, be careful of the toes you step on as you climb to the top; they may well be connected to the butt you’ll have to kiss on the way down!
Just this week a referral candidate pitched hard the reasons why any ad agency, publisher or company would benefit from the candidate’s skills, experience and leadership. After sharing the job description with a great agency ready to fill a key position a day later I receive a note from the candidate stating contact with an ad agency “may” have already been made. Turns out TWO applications had been submitted online – one just THREE DAYS before our initial conversation! Are you kidding me?
Let’s set aside all the proverbial excuses either of these individuals could use and get real.
Character is defined as, “the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual”.
Everyone expect sociopaths have character. For those who don’t think character counts – you’re wrong. There’s consequences and you won’t like the outcome. It’s not too late to build character so step up now.